News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

News, Opinion, & Multimedia for Tamalpais High School

The Tam News

Check out the magazine:

Magazine archives

Why is a gap year beneficial?


High school students deal with constant pressure: getting good grades, fitting in among their peers, applying to colleges, and figuring out what to do as an adult. Adding on to that, high school is becoming increasingly stressful. According to an article published by K-12 Dive,  the average GPA is rising and AP classes are becoming more popular. 

According to Cornelius Bull, founder of the Gap Year Association, a national nonprofit organization working to make gap years available to everyone, “A gap year is a time to explore the world around and within you, and to identify that which you find truly important in life.” 

Moreover, in an article published by Nols Blog, a gap year statistics and opportunities organization, “Gap year statistics collected over the past decade show us that students taking a break from the traditional high-school-to-college pipeline tend to have greater self-confidence, increased personal awareness, improved communication skills, better mental health, and a higher rate of success as undergraduates than those who do not.”

Here are a few of the biggest benefits of taking a gap year.


Exploring the World

Perhaps the most well-known reason for taking a gap year: you can travel and explore the world.  

It’s a great time to travel as you’re still young and not grounded to a lifestyle yet,” Tam senior Ida Toernqvist said. Toernqvist is considering taking a gap year before going to a university in Sweden. 

During a gap year, you are free to go wherever you want. You can visit new places by yourself, with friends or family, or you can enroll in a gap-year program. There are several gap year programs where you will meet new people from different cultures, see new places around the world, and learn about current issues that are prominent in other countries. The Gap Year Association features several programs that travel around the United States, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia, as well as a civil rights education trip to South Africa. 

There are also several internship programs or jobs that you can do to start saving a little money. Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) USA is a popular farm internship program. Global Vision International also sets students up with conservation and community volunteer programs or internships.

These programs may not be for everyone but they allow you to experience new cultures and environments, help other people, and maybe even find your place in the world.

“[A gap year] can be a good step towards learning some more independence that people might not have experienced living at home with their families. I think it can be a really good way to explore the world and get new cultural experiences,” Tam Wellness Outreach Specialist Sophia Kauffman said. 


A Break From School

Another benefit of taking a gap year is the break from academics. High school is stressful, and many students experience burnout after going through AP classes, SAT or ACT exams, and college applications.

As a counselor who talks with students every day, Kauffman said she sees the stress of college on students.

“I think our society, and specifically in Marin and at Tam, there is so much focus on academic achievement and I see a lot of pressure around that and I think it can be really good for people to take a year off, away from those pressures,” Kauffman said.

“I think there can be some shame or some stigma if people don’t [go to college],” Kauffman said. “There are a lot of really good paths post-high school that don’t involve going to college immediately [and] I think there needs to be more talk in our community about all of those options.” 

Senior Gray Blankfort added to this, saying, “If you don’t go to college straight away, I feel like you’ll learn a lot about yourself and about the world that you’re not going to get in college.” 

Personally, I support the idea of taking a gap year. When I look around at my fellow students, I see a lot of stress and pressure in their lives to get into a certain school or get certain grades, and I think a break from that would be helpful to them. 

For me, I’m not sure what I want to do for work, and as an independent person, I like being able to spend time doing whatever I want. I also feel like I have lived in the same place my whole life, and I want to explore other cultures and ways of living. I hope that a gap year can be a time for me to find my passion in life and discover more about the world and I hope that more students will see a gap year as an opportunity worth taking.

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All The Tam News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *