What Would You Do With A Paid One-Year Vacation?

When I finished high school, I didn’t take a break. I dove right in full time, taking two classes in the summer and five each spring and fall semester. I finished my A.A. in General Education in a year and a half and rolled right into my Bachelor’s in Information Technology the following semester. By that time, I was about ready to douse my body in gasoline and light myself on fire…not really, but you get the idea. It was time for me to take a break, to figure out what it was that I really wanted to do.

Traditionally, many students take the summer off and start college in the fall. Though some colleges are now recognizing the need for students to take a year off and discover new opportunities before settling back down to dive into the books again. Princeton University has already been doing this for years now, giving students a chance to postpone their education for a year, at the university’s expense. So far, nearly 100 applicants have taken up this offer, going to different countries around the world and pursuing internships or volunteer work in wherever the student finds interest in. It’s essentially a work-study program you take on before committing to a degree.

The idea here is to give students a fresher perspective. By taking what is referred to as a “gap” year, some believe that students came come back with a better understanding of what’s available to them and find out what it is that they aspire to do. Now many discourage taking a gap year since it’s likely that those who choose to do so may never go back to school. But if one happens to find something that they enjoy doing and find it to be worth studying, then wouldn’t they have a reason then to go back to school?

I wish I had taken the year off. I spent nearly two years struggling to find out what it was that I wanted to do with my life, and when I finally decided on something, it turned out to be something that I really had little interest in doing anyway. The best decision I made was dropping out of college, because it was then when I found out what it was that I enjoy doing. But now that I’ve found it, will I go back to college? Maybe. As a copywriter, I may benefit from learning more about marketing and professional writing. If only I had the money to do it…