A gap year is a semester or full year of experience learning between high school graduation and college admission. Education Gap years are designed to provide students with a break from academics in order for them to discover themselves and determine what type of school or job they want to pursue.
Why take an Education Gap Year?
Taking an education gap year might be the smartest or worst move you ever make, depending on who you ask. The majority of people who take a gap year are either looking for a change or are unsure of what they want to do next. In either case, people use this time to pursue hobbies, try new things, and learn about themselves.
Advantages & Disadvantages of a Gap Year
It frees up time for you to explore other interests.
It provides you with the possibility to work and earn money.
It looks good on your resume.
It might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
This Life experience can help you prepare for university.
You run the danger of losing your academic momentum.
You run a high risk of wasting a good amount of time.
It may be rather costly.
You will be a year behind schedule.
It’s a gamble.
Stories and Experiences of People Like You
Should the term “gap year” always be a dreaded one? During a job interview, or at a family gathering, do you find it difficult explaining that one year you decided to take a break from your studies? Not really, if you have the right reasons backing your decision.
I know. I am Tanay Vaidya, a student of Mass Communication in Mumbai. A desire to shift from Engineering to my current stream of studies – combined with a less than stellar performance in my 12th standard exam – left me clueless about my future. Failure is something that is inevitable. All that a gap year does is reschedule the same.
A change of direction in studies isn’t the only reason one may choose to take a break. The reasons could vary from a personal emergency to something as simple as wanting to improve your scores.
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Let’s consider Sharvari Surve, a second-year MBBS student at the DY Patil University in Navi Mumbai. “I didn’t feel like I was at my best the first time around, and I wanted another shot”, she says. She speaks at length about the time she found herself struggling with certain subjects. “I used to avoid putting that extra effort on my weaker subjects because I didn’t expect to improve. This year, though, my teachers put me to it. I did notice an improvement because of my consistent efforts.”
It was difficult for her to see her friends continuing their studies without her. “I was happy to see them progress, but I was a little saddened that I couldn’t join them”, says Sharvari.
Her parents, Shivani and Chetan Surve admitted they were apprehensive. Her future seemed unclear at times, but they eventually supported her and were satisfied with the outcome. “She didn’t reach her goals conventionally, but that doesn’t take anything away from her,” they say.
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Nishant Dhargalkar, a Computer Science student at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Technology, Andheri, faced a similar scenario. However, in his case, his parents were the ones who advised him to take a year’s break. This is indicative of the concept of finding acceptance. “Nishant’s elder brother, Siddhant, had been in a similar situation, but we trusted that, just as he did, Nishant would put his education gap year to good use. Those around us felt it would be a waste of time, but we disagreed. In both situations, the gap year proved fruitful”, said his mother, Manisha Dhargalkar.
Nishant’s father, Shailesh Dhargalkar, an Engineer himself, saw the potential long-term benefits of a gap year. “You need to have your core subjects clear in this field. Considering one expects to have a 35-40-year long career, spending an extra year on studies seems worthwhile”. Nishant agrees, stating that the extra revision has helped him.
The educators agree but are quick to point out some caveats. While they agree that a year’s break might help some students to pull up their socks and better their performances, they are also quick to point out that it shouldn’t be the easy way out.
Dr Mrunalini Date, a professor of Botany at Ramniranjan Jhunjhunwala College of Arts, Science and Commerce, has some interesting insights to share.
“Students who have consistently scored high marks in their exams over the years, but have received less than satisfactory marks in their latest exam, should absolutely give it another shot. However, students who haven’t scored high marks consistently, and have received similar marks in their latest examination, should avoid taking a break. The examination format may not be an accurate measure of their skills, and they may do well further down the line,” he says.
After speaking to Dr Prachi Gharpure, Principal of the Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, Andheri, this is what I discovered, “Due to the financial conditions of families stabilising, parents aren’t compelled to rush their child’s education, in the hope that the child will quickly get a degree that gets him or her a high paying job. They have the choice to be patient, now.”
People today are beginning to realise the benefits of taking a break. The current educational culture is not that of a manic rat race like it used to be. While the idea still will take time before the taboos associated with it are done away with and it isn’t that it is an option that ought to be chosen often, things are most certainly changing. Opportunities, sometimes, may come knocking more than once.
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