A gap year is not the commonest of decisions and it’s definitely not the most easily understood one. People tend to have way too many presumptions about it. Actually experiencing a gap year is something that ends up being quite an experience in itself. Here are a few things you can probably relate to if you’re a gap year product (much like yours truly).
1. In the midst of it, you’re just NOT sure if you actually made the right decision
The dark cloud of indecision and self-doubt looms it’s shadow over you on a daily basis, no matter if you’re a month into the gap year, or six. You’re still not sure if this was the right decision or not because a small part at the back of your mind is hell bent on convincing you it wasn’t.
2. You see your batchmates furthering their studies and it gives you a buttload of insecurities
You see Facebook statuses about them getting into universities and you’re on the verge of dropping everything and having a full-blown mental breakdown because why did you ever decide to take this gap year anyway when you yourself could’ve been there, in that university too. (I feel you, bub.)
3. You pressure yourself to be overly productive during the gap year
Been there, done that – kind of still doing it (tbh). There’s just this massive amount of pressure you feel piling on every time you feel yourself slacking for even a millisecond because a bunch of really invasive thoughts crowd inside your mind about how you specifically just cannot afford to waste any time at all. And honestly, it really does suck but you can get through it because you just have to remind yourself that taking a break is as important as working if you want to maintain your productivity.
4. You wish people would stop asking you the what’s and the why’s of a gap year
It’s just so…annoying? Like, this need to have our lives all figured out. Because I can promise you that even the person who’s actually in university right now, seemingly having their life together – actually doesn’t. Nobody does and that’s the bottom line. So asking me why I took a gap year won’t get us anywhere, will it?
5. You love and hate the fact that you have so much time to think about your future – all at the same time
You really appreciate the fact that you have all the time in the world to think about what you intend on doing in the future. But the fact that the mind is one huge blackhole that, once begins consuming information, has a problem stopping. This tends to make things (a bit of) a struggle. Mostly because you start thinking of the 1,000 options you have and confusion is suddenly your best friend.
6. You’re constantly oscillating between wanting to get (a lot of) shit done and not wanting to move a muscle
It’s basically a constant struggle between “I could do anything and everything today” and “I could do all of that tomorrow, let me chill…”
7. You’re wishing people would stop assuming that everyone who takes a gap year does nothing but travel
No, my dear distant relative, I’ve taken a gap year but I’m not traveling. If I want to, I might. But it’s not written in the pages of “Gap Year 101” that I have to travel just because I decided to take a break from academics. (Low key we all wish that book did exist though, am I right?)
8. Realizing your batchmates could be your seniors if you end up at the same university as them
This could be a blessing or a bane because, on one hand, you’ve got the advantage of knowing your seniors already but on the other, the same people were your peers a year or two ago and that makes it a little awkward.
Needless to say, taking a gap year is quite the experience in itself. But for the most part of it, it’s quite worth it because we end up learning so much about ourselves and what it is we want in our lives (to an extent). Otherwise, let’s be honest, life is just a series of lessons one after the other – some good and some bad – your gap year could be either or both. Who knows.