A question I get asked a lot, to which I answer simply: “why wouldn’t I?”.
After 13 consecutive years of government controlled education, it’s time for me to take learning into my own hands! Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the free education we exploit, the high standards of teaching and the dedication every teacher shows their students.
Teachers & students alike are no longer in control of education. Teachers are given a strict curriculum, linking directly to exam material. Yes, at GCSE we choose subjects to pursue, but we don’t choose topics and truthfully, the curriculum is a little outdated. This lack of control spans past the curriculum, into the strict timetables, uniforms and non-negotiable use of time.
So, after 13 years, I want to be in complete control. A gap year means: I can choose where I want to go (be that a bar or a country). I can choose what I want to do: I could work, I could travel, I could just do nothing!
I worry that my friends are rushing to get through the education system and then forget all they’ve learnt. That’s 3 or more years of education, exam stress and a lot of debt. Despite what people think, it’s not a year long jolly. I’ll be working myself into the ground saving for a flight ticket, budgeting, bartering, navigating, making friends, breaking friends, getting lost, finding myself and finally grieving the best year of my life! There are some things you just don’t learn in the pages of a book.
By the time I finish secondary education I’ll be 18 years old and a recognised adult. To me that is totally petrifying. I don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know if I want to go to university or do an apprenticeship. I need time to reflect, get to know myself without the pressures of school, exams and stress chaining me down. I say with 100% certainty a gap year will give me the clarity on what I want to do.
So why am I choosing to go on a gap year? Well, why wouldn’t I?