As a child, I was encouraged to study. It was important to work hard and get results. Taking a break from education was frowned upon. Since then things have changed. Continuing with education is still encouraged but taking gap years/breaks is now very popular amongst many students.
It’s hard to decide what to do when you leave school and not a decision to be taken lightly. I know I struggled initially to decide what to study. Taking on a course that you don’t have your heart in isn’t worth the money or time it will cost and in some cases, a break from studying can do you a world of good. This not only gives breathing space but also lets you really think about what you want to do in the future and go back into education with a little life experience as an added bonus. Here I look at the pros of taking a break before you decide whether to dive back into full-time study or taking a little breather and time to clear your mind.
Some of my friends choose to take a gap year. The gap year for them was great as it provided them with the chance to get a little life experience through traveling. Travelling can open your eyes to new experiences, different cultures and help you grow as a person as well as boost confidence. It also helps cultivate various skills including budgeting, sourcing affordable flights and accommodation and researching safety in the chosen destination.
Opting to take a gap year can provide an opportunity to save up much-needed funds in preparation for the expenses to come. This can then allow students to focus on their education when they get to university. It’s not easy to juggle part-time work around lessons, studying and a social life. Having money in the bank can mean the main focus is on studies rather than on whether you can earn enough to be able to afford to continue with studies.
Preparation is vital. Researching where to study can help with keeping the costs down. In some cases studying and living at home with parents is an option. When studying elsewhere students need to look at pricing for local accommodation to check feasibility. Locations where the course can be taken need to be compared. For example, the cost of studying in London will be far more than the cost of studying in Newcastle. Study London gives an idea of what to expect depending on the type of course you opt for. You will be able to check the approximate costs of private student accommodation all over the UK easily online. For example, if you take a look at this listing from Collegiate, their luxury apartments are available in Newcastle from £159 per week. Of course, the cost is going to vary depending on what type of accommodation you’re looking for. On the flip side, the equivalent type of accommodation can cost around £218 a week in London.
You could always consider a house share, or living in university campus accommodation but most tend to be extremely cramped or in poor condition having experienced a good range when visiting friends who were studying.
Deferring to Take a Gap Year
Not decided whether to take a gap year although you have been accepted to do a popular course? It can be hard to know what to do. The risk of not being accepted into it again if you choose to do it at a later date can be a concern. Approaching the university and speaking to them if you have your heart set on a gap year can help. If you don’t ask, you don’t get is my philosophy. Provided you get good exam results you can normally defer a year.
Are You Passionate About Your Chosen Course?
One of the most important questions to answer when choosing between a gap year or to go straight into further education is how passionate you are about your chosen course. You shouldn’t succumb to peer pressure when choosing which course to take. It’s your life that will be influenced by your decisions. It can be difficult knowing what we want to do at such a young age and being certain of the course we choose means we are less likely to decide it’s not appropriate part way through. The complete University Guide might be useful in helping those who might need some inspiration.
It can help to talk to teachers, friends, and parents about options and get ideas from them. Hearing different ideas and opinions can really help and might help you discover a course perfect for you that you didn’t know existed. The key thing to remember is that this is a choice you must make for yourself.
Did you /will you opt to take a gap year or go straight into further education?
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