Teenagers go to high school, graduate, and move on to college. That is the traditional route and one that millions of kids follow on a yearly basis. A gap year just seems like a waste of twelve months while your son or daughter frolics in a foreign country. Ask a parent what they think and they’ll say “no way, Jose!” Being on the same page is important, and parents have to be willing to meet in the middle. Sure, 52 weeks of fun in the sun wasn’t your path, but it doesn’t mean your child won’t benefit.
Here are the reasons to encourage a year away from education.
In the past, people that didn’t apply for college didn’t get in and didn’t get a second chance. They had to find a job and try their hand in the working world. The dynamic doesn’t exist any longer thanks to the Web. Nowadays, universities, even the very good ones, offer courses such as masters in education online without the need to attend class. Theoretically, a student can study from anywhere in the world, such as Tijuana, Mexico. Or, realistically, they can come back and enroll as a backup plan if the worst happens.
Old people think that the young ones can operate at a breakneck pace because of their age. Of course, teenagers suffer from fatigue just as much as moms and dads. It takes a while to figure out, but it happens all the same. Traditionally, going from elementary to middle and high school and then on to university is a long slog. Therefore, students can feel the pressure and begin to crack. Taking a year off is refreshing and gives students the best opportunity to succeed on their return.
Their current dream may not stay that way for long. As you know, young people are idealistic and have big goals. But, as life sets in, they change and alter over time. Sometimes, working out where you want to go is part of the process, but it’s better to figure out sooner rather than later. Most kids don’t get the chance because they jump from one stepping stone to the next without asking questions. Traveling encourages people to ponder what they want from life. You may disagree, but at least you know their new target is important to them as they aren’t on autopilot any longer.
Partying and eating noodles and pasta aren’t lessons parents want to teach their kids. But, underneath the surface, some things will stay with them for the rest of their lives. For example, travelers have to figure out how to manipulate their budget as money is always tight. As a result, kids come back with a greater sense of the value of money, something they won’t learn sitting at home. Also, plenty of people get jobs and get an introduction into the “real” world.
As you can see, a gap year has its benefits. Would you encourage your child to take part?