It’s tempting, I know. You’ve just come back from an amazing time finding yourself in Thailand, and of course you want to tell everyone about it because ‘riding an elephant was, like, totally life changing man’.
Don’t get me wrong, as a gap year student myself, taking a year between the end of A-Levels and starting your degree can be invaluable. If you want to earn some cash, go on an amazing trip, or simply take some time away from education for a while, gap year-ing can really help you change your perspective and give you a well deserved break (and besides you will have been in education for a good 12/13 years non-stop!).
The Benefits of a Gap Year
For myself, my gap year gave me a bit more time to think, I had gotten to the end of my a-levels, and as many do, freaked out because I had no idea whatsoever what I wanted to do with my life! I had already been on some open days but was still completely clueless. Taking my gap year helped me realise that I wanted to go to uni for myself and not because everyone else at sixth form was going too.
Although it is just a year, taking that time away to gain some more experiences just living your life does make a difference and can really help you feel like you have grown up a little bit more before that scary transition to university. Even if you don’t take a spiritual trip, scootering through Vietnam, as cliche as it may seem, a gap year really can help you find yourself a little.
Making some cash before you ship off to uni can also prove to be really useful, although nowhere near as fun as my friends who went backpacking. I spent my gap year waitressing, it was kind of boring and a tad soul destroying but in terms of money, I came to university not having to rely entirely on my student loan, which was really useful when it came to boozing during freshers and making the most of the freedom of first year.
A ‘Gap year’ and a ‘Gap yah’ are two very different things.
Perhaps I’m just envious, ( I most definitely am) of my peers who were lucky enough to experience an amazing trip, but the issue with the Gap Yah student is not the gap year, or the lengthy trip you choose to take, it’s the amount you annoy everyone else about it. Spoiler alert: not everyone wants to hear you brag about your tales of how ‘Ollie from your hostel had the best banter’.
You know the type. You’ve just moved into uni accommodation, you’re in the kitchen, brewing a nervous cuppa, and your new flatmate comes in, spotting the koala bear on your mug and before you know it, they’re spouting off all about how amaaaazing Australia was before you can even tell them your name.
The issue is the pretension and the bragging when it comes to recounting your gap year odyssey. While without doubt, your gap year was probably epic, it’s the way you deliver it to other students. It’s definitely worth being aware that not everyone is able to afford a massively extravagant gap year and so hearing you bang on about it can become really grating, plus, being a fresher at uni, your new friends have probably heard 8 other stories of how wild the beach parties are in Cambodia in the past week!
And if you think it’s just me being a bitter old woman, here’s Frank Turner’s I Really Don’t Care What You Did On Your Gap Year, which isn’t really anything to do with this article in terms of lyrics, but it’s a good song with a relevant title!