Sometimes you need a gap year to figure your shit out. But if you’re not keen on travelling (or can’t afford it) a working gap year can be on the cards. There’s pros and cons for every decision, so weigh up all the options and decide what’s right for you.
Pro: Money money money
Taking a year off from study to work means the amount in your bank is going to grow, fast. Unlike your friends that are at uni, you won’t have to spend all your hard earned cash on textbooks or student amenity fees. Plus, you won’t have thousands of dollars worth of debt next to your name either.
Pro: Work Experience
A working gap year is going to give you heaps of experience to chuck on your resume. You’ll get to know what it’s like to work full time and start progressing from where you started in high school. Plus, a working gap year doesn’t mean you have to stay in the same job you’ve been doing since Year 9. There’s plenty of gap year programs that will let you earn money while you learn new skills.
Pro: You’ll Probably Figure Out What You Want To Do
Allowing yourself to breathe for five seconds will give you time to think about what you actually want to do with your life. While your friends are going through uni, you’ll hear stories about their subjects and about their degrees and they’ll talk about it in a more realistic way than school ever did. You’ll be able to work in an industry and see if there are elements of that industry that align to your interests. Heck, you may even grow within your role and your gap year will become your career. A working gap year gives you time to figure it all out while growing your savings account.
Pro: Education is there when you’re ready
We’re past the days when you had to go to uni straight from high school. Uni isn’t going anywhere and it’s totally okay to defer your offer for a year or reapply later down the track. If you decide to head back, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that you haven’t ‘lost time’ at all, and that heaps of people in your classes range in age from 17-year-old freshies to 45-year-old mothers with 5 kids.
Con: On that 9-5 grind
Heading into full time work means you can say goodbye to scheduled holidays and half days of study where you finish at lunch. Unless you’re heading into something more flexible, like freelancing or somewhere that lets you work from home, you’re going to be working more often than not. You’ll also finally understand why your parents always came home tired from work.
Con: Out of the loop with friends
A regular work schedule generally isn’t going to line up with your friends who are studying at uni. They’ll probably have days off while you’re busy working and vice versa. On top of this, you’re not going to relate when they complain about all the readings their tutor has assigned, just like they’re not going to relate when you tell them about what goes on with your co-workers in the office.
Con: Listening to people tell you you’ll never go to uni/have wasted your potential
A lot of people (particularly people our parents age) are still stuck thinking that a degree and a university education is the only way to succeed. Shooting down snarky comments will probably become the norm if you decide to take a gap year of any kind. Just remember, there’s plenty of pathways to success and regardless of what people say- it’s your life and you need to do what’s best for you.