How do I know if I should take a gap year?

Abby stands over a gap. Photo credit to her mother.

Abby Murphy, Advice Editor

Hey Abby, 

The pandemic uprooted the end of my high school experience, and now my college situation doesn’t look great either. On the other hand, I’ve been looking forward to college for a long time, and I didn’t anticipate putting off that experience. How do I know if I should take a gap year? 

Hey high school graduate,

I was in the same place, and it’s kind of an awful place to be. You have to take a leap either way. For me (and probably for you), neither decision felt like the comfortable nor easy one. But, last week, I officially deferred for a year, and I am now gapping! (I have made it into a verb in and of itself. Spread it.) 

Here are some reasons to take a gap year—big and small, significant and more significant: 

  • There is something you have always wanted to spend a bit of time pursuing. Maybe it’s starting an organization. Maybe it’s learning to cook and live self-sufficiently. Maybe it’s re-reading all of the Percy Jackson series. 
  • You feel burned out. You have never not filled every second of every day, and your mind and body are aching for a break. Take one. Spend a year finding yourself and learning the difference between being productive and overexerting yourself. 
  • Maybe, financially, it makes more sense to take a year off. 
  • You want a better idea of what you want to pursue in college. A gap year can lead to a more focused college experience.
  • You want to take a year to discover new places, activities and things about yourself.
  • You want to avoid as many years of a more bizarre, distanced college experience as possible. 
  • You like using “gapping” as a verb. 
  • You embarrassed yourself in front of a senior when you were a freshman in high school, and, now, that senior goes to the same college that you will be attending. If you take a gap year, you avoid more embarrassing encounters. 
  • You just, like, cannot do school anymore. 
  • You want to spend all your time training to qualify for the summer Olympics next year. 
  • You’ve always wanted to go viral. Gapping provides a year to do as many ridiculous activities as you want—just to end up on Charli D’Amelio’s TikTok “For You” page. Start vlogging your walks down the street. (“Omg! A squirrel is climbing up that tree!”) Livestream yourself learning to underwater basketweave. Better yet—livestream yourself sitting on one rock for hours, and see how many birds will defecate on your head.
  • There are way too many shows you want to binge watch, and you have never had enough time.
  • You get bad vibes from the year 2024 and would prefer to stick with the multiples of five and become a member of the class of 2025. 

Ok, I’m done. I’m burned out. Will get back to you after the year of gapping. 

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