I’m one of those people that can’t make a decision about anything. If you ask me where I want to eat, I’ll always answer ‘up to you’, I can never pick a movie to watch and when faced with more than one option when choosing something I’ll usually have to give my mum a call and get her to help me decide. I have hundreds of pros and cons lists floating around and I’m always the last person to order in a restaurant because I’m still tossing up my options.
So, when I got close to the end of my time in high school, and suddenly had to start making a lot of big, massive, life changing decisions, I freaked out.
I know why I’m so bad at decisions- I’m terrified I’m going to make the wrong one, and regret it for the rest of my life. So, I get it when people say they’re worried that taking a gap year is the wrong decision.
What if you change your mind and want to go to uni? What if you miss out on a massive opportunity while you’re seeing the world? What if you get home and see all your mates a year into their degree and regret not hitting the books straight away? What if you could have spent that money on something else, something more important?
If you’re considering a gap year after you graduate high school it’s totally normal to have some doubts. And it’s also totally normal to be scared about making the decision to do something like take a gap year when everyone else is going down the more traditional path and heading straight to uni.
But you shouldn’t let this doubt stop you from taking a gap year.
Contrary to popular belief taking a gap year doesn’t have to mean spending a year at home, laying around while your mum yells at you to clean your room. And, it also doesn’t have to mean spending all your time trekking around Europe (although it can be both these things, if that’s what you need).
There’s an infinite amount of things you can do on your gap year. You might be working your arse off at your local Maccas to earn some solid cash. You could be packing up a van and spending your days watching the sunrise from different parts of Australia. Maybe you’re heading on a cruise or planning a holiday in Bali or getting a flight outta here and jumping head first into another culture, volunteering locally or looking into other study pathways.
Doing any of these things can be pretty scary. After all, you’ve been living in the school bubble for the past thirteen or so years. You’ve been waking up at the same time every morning, wearing the same uniform and going through the days with predetermined periods and bell times. It’s only when you graduate that you’re hit with the reality that in the real world, every decision falls back on you.
But just because you’re scared, feel like you can’t decide, or are having some doubts, doesn’t mean a gap year isn’t for you.
Your gap year is your chance to explore and learn. It’s your chance to grow up and get away from the places you’ve spent your whole life in. It’s a chance to recharge yourself and remember what it feels like not to be weighed down by textbooks and study notes.
Your gap year is a time to figure out what you’re passionate about and what you hate. It’s a opportunity to try new things- good and bad and just see what happens. A gap year doesn’t have to have a purpose, because at the end of it you’re not going to be the same person you once were and that’s great.
A gap year shows you there’s a big wide world out there that isn’t contained within a lecture hall or classroom.
It makes sense that you’re worried whether a gap year is the right decision for you but you shouldn’t let the fear of regret doing something that could change your life. Remember, people always regret the things they didn’t do, rather than the things they did.
And hey, worst case scenario, at least you’ll have some fucking amazing stories to tell your kids one day.