The idea of a gap year – taking a year off before going to college – is becoming increasingly popular among teenagers. Will gap year help us decide on our future profession or will it close the door to the world of higher education forever?
Time to “reset”
Gap year literally translates as “gap” and “year. It means breaking free from the normal flow of life and taking a break after high school to rest, get busy, and finally figure out what you want to dedicate your life to. In fact, you don’t necessarily have to spend a whole year looking for yourself, sometimes two weeks is enough to “reboot.” For the older generation, the desire of young people to take a break after high school and not go to college may seem like a manifestation of laziness and irresponsibility. In fact, this is not the case.
According to statistics, almost 60% of Russians do not work by profession. Usually a teenager in the 11th grade frantically chooses the subjects that he will pass at the end of the year. Having passed the Unified State Exam, he looks at which university he can enter. Many, as a rule, have no idea what to expect from further education. Sometimes the teenager, who dreamed of a particular profession and purposefully prepared to enter a particular institution, realizes that he was wrong. During this difficult time, it is important to support them, not to pressure them. It is not easy to make up your mind for gap year, and in Russia it is not customary.
In European countries and the U.S., on the other hand, the attitude toward gap year is completely normal, and many teenagers do not plan to enroll at all after graduation. In the West, for those who decided to postpone enrollment, there are many programs that help you spend a free year in a useful way, without spending a lot of money at the same time. They give the opportunity to get a job, to live in another country. There are no such programs in Russia yet. So if your child has decided to postpone admission for a year, he will need the help of parents, so as not to “drown” in the adult problems and not to be tempted to abandon higher education completely.
First of all, you need to talk to your teenager and weigh the pros and cons. If they has given a good reason for the decision, it is important to discuss a plan of action for the coming year and understand what the teenager really wants. Maybe they already knows where wants to go, but has decided to gain strength before the stressful years of study, or maybe they just looking for himself or herself. It is important that the gap year did not pass uselessly, because time flies very quickly.
It’s worth agreeing in advance on the financial side of the issue, incentives and penalties for deviating from the plan. For example, you can pay for a trip to Europe for a few months, but agree that on his return, the teenager will find a part-time job or go to college preparatory courses.
However, you should not forget that your son or daughter have already grown up and become individuals, even if they still need your financial assistance, and have the right to choose their future profession. During this period it is extremely important to maintain a warm relationship with each other.