Gap years

@GreenMoo (11842)
March 21, 2012 5:29am CST
As many of you know, we host volunteers at the farm who work with us on day to day projects in return for their meals and accommodation. It gives people an opportunity to learn about sustainable living and just experience something a little different. Many of our volunteers are taking gap years from university courses, or between college and university. This seems to me to be on the increase, as when I was that age it was fairly unusual. Did you take a gap year? Have your children? Do you wish you´d had the opportunity? It seems to me to be a great idea, providing that something worthwhile is done with that free time. Some work experience, some travel, volunteering or learning a new skill perhaps. If the time is just spent lounging around at home watching telly then it is a year wasted. What do you think would be a good way to spend a gap year? Did you or your children or friends do something exciting with theirs?
2 people like this
10 responses
@katsmeow1213 (28467)
• United States
21 Mar 12
I took a lot of gap years, like 15 of them, LOL! Seriously though, I think I can understand taking a year off or so. School is tough, and when it seems like never-ending, it gets real daunting. People spend like their first 18 years in school and then have to look forward to at least another 4 in college. I can understand wanting to take some time off just to not have to do any schooling. I'm going for my associate's degree now, and it is tough. I am so looking forward to school being over with, and I keep telling my husband not to let me sign up to get my bachelor's because I don't think I could handle it!
1 person likes this
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
You´re the second of my friends to have taken a 15 year gap. It must be a magic number :-) I think that taking some time before starting college can be really beneficial. You´re studying now because you want to, right? I bet that´s a different attitude to some of the 18 years olds.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 12
Well I wouldn't suggest taking 15 years! As far as whether or not I want to.. Um... I've wanted to go back to school for awhile, but wasn't really sure what to go for. I still don't really know what it is I want to do for the rest of my life, you know. I just picked something I thought I could be good at. It turns out I don't like it so much. I chose Medical Administrative Assistant, and right now I'm learning about billing and coding and I hate it! I really just want to be a typical secretary or something. I really want to quit school at this point because I'm figuring on just keeping my banking job even after I graduate since I know I don't want to do anything associated with billing and coding. But I will finish and get my degree just so I can say I have it. Like I said, I won't be going for a further degree after this.
@GreenMoo (11842)
29 Mar 12
I did my degree (as an adult) purely to prove that I could. It might not be the best reason, and I've never used it, but at least I can say I achieved it. Can you transfer your credit onto another course or something and switch from being so specialised?
• Australia
21 Mar 12
If I somehow got universal power placed in my hands, I would prohibit all but the genuine prodigies from attending tertiary institutes until they were at least 21, possibly 25. I have dealt with too many totally inexperienced but academically qualified social workers, just to name one profession, who shouldn't have been allowed within a thousand miles of a counselling session or major life-changing decision-making for other people. In fact in professions like that, I might even go so far as 30. Lash
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 12
My whole life is the gap years. My mom stopped me from taking my life right after highschool. she told me I didn't Have to go to college after I said I would pick a school with a high tower so I could jump off. Have I done something worth while? No. Like my life as seem by others , it was a waste. I saw movies and slept Then I got the job I have now. But then again I Never had a purpose.
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
Well a gap year implies that you intend to go back, which pretty much rules you out as a gap year participant! Why assume others see your life as a waste? Because you think you should have done more with it? Why would others think that? Killing time, then getting a job seems to be pretty normal. There are people who kill time their entire lives, at least you went out and got a job and got on with things. I don´t think there´s many people apart from the really driven who would say they had a purpose. I think my purpose is not to screw things up too badly and do the best I can.
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Mar 12
Why? because as long as I can remember I was told I was smart. Teachers assumed I was going to be a teacher. And that I assumed to go to college you Must know what you wanted to do by age 15. when I was 16, that is when I started to see myself as a huge mistake because I saw Nothing in my future. That is when I planned my exit. To this day , I just assume I'm a failure, a happy failure , but a failure .
• United States
21 Mar 12
And it is worse, I don't see watching films as a waste of time.See I am waste of space.
• China
22 Mar 12
I ought to make a completely new appraisal of your farm.You are engaged in sustainable living ,that is to say environmental-friendly agriculture, and that many volunteers are university students who take gap years. It is great they go there and experience sustainable living.It is the best way for them to apply theory to reality.I am not sure if the gap years is sabbatical or summer vacation,winter vacation.
@GreenMoo (11842)
22 Mar 12
We accept all sorts of volunteers here. Some are university students taking some time out, but others are of various ages and have different reasons for visiting. Our oldest volunteer to date was 68, and we have had babes in arms along with their parents (though I´m not sure the babies achieved very much work!). When I refer to a gap year I think the closest description would probably be a sabbatical. Some come here in their long holidays as well though. I think in either case it is a good opportunity for them to do something different with their time.
• China
23 Mar 12
They are surely from different countries.I guess sometimes you don't understand what they are talking about.I remember a guy left his luggage at there and went off last year and You didn't make contact with him. It is not easy for you to host the volunteers.
@GreenMoo (11842)
29 Mar 12
It's funny you should remember that guy. He's actually coming back here next week!
@mensab (4208)
• Philippines
21 Mar 12
i am blessed to have no gap years during my school years. i was able to secure a scholarship that paid for my studies. if i had a gap year, i would have spent it in worthwhile activities such as volunteering or internships or part-time jobs. i would have spent it in a productive way. some employers look at the gap years, and what people do in those years.
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
When I was an employer I was always interested in what people did with their gap years, if they had one. It´s a super opportunity to do something worthwhile, but to waste that time is criminal.
21 Mar 12
I am interested as to why you consider you were "blessed" to have no gap year. For me it was a very important time - I grew up a whole lot during my gap year, and I experienced things I don't think I'd have done if I'd not taken a break from education.
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
I expect Mensab is thinking of a year out of education as being something unintentional, a failure of sorts. Gap years are a luxury really, and those of us who can consider gap years are probably very fortunate to have the option. I hadn´t considered that previously. Would I be right, Mensab, in thinking that gap years aren´t so common in the Phillipines?
@BlueCat (49)
21 Mar 12
When I was 18 I took a gap year - but it became more than a year as I then didn't start my degree for about 15 years! For me personally I felt that I had spent a very long time in education and I wanted to experience something else before I embarked on further study. I was planning on travelling for part of the year but various plans fell through, so I worked instead. I think it's a fantastic idea so long as it it used productively, as you said (for surely a gap year spent slobbing in front of the TV is actually just unemployment!)My own daughter will be starting university later this year and I did try and encourage her to take a gap year and maybe do some voluntary work abroad but she was concerned that once out of the education system she would find it difficult to return. I would actually like to take another gap year myself - perhaps one day, when I am no longer so responsible for my family, I may take a year out to travel.
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
If you don´t do your adventuring whilst you are young and footloose it becomes very hard to do so later. I don´t particularly like travelling, but I get quite jealous of our volunteers occasionally as many of them have no plan and no responsibilities. They go where whim and the wind blows them, meeting new people and trying new things along the way.
21 Mar 12
The wisdom of youth (or lack of it!) I guess part of me would love to just take off with no plans and see what happens. Another part of me would have everything planned to the nth degree!
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
Well I did the taking off with no plans once, and look where it left me!! Perhaps some more careful planning would save me from myself ...
@bounce58 (17550)
• Canada
28 Mar 12
For my family, and upbringing, a gap year was out of the question. It was imperative that I finished school right away (even though I took longer than I should), and get to work so I could support myself. That was a way to help my parents not to spend for me anymore. Anyway, I think I've softened up my stance on gap years. I think I would like my kids to experience a gap, and just do something with their life. Although I learned a lot when I was in university, including non-classroom lessons, I think my kids would benefit more if they did a gap year. Just to travel, or do some volunteer work, or just experience life (even have a job)!
@GreenMoo (11842)
29 Mar 12
Gap years really are a luxury for those who can afford them. I think they are more popular in Europe too. I think they're a great option for some young people, providing they have something interesting to do with the time. Life experience is as valuable as classroom experience, I think.
@jillhill (37357)
• United States
21 Mar 12
Two of my kids did not take a gap year and one did and to this day she is having problems finishing up her college....the gap year was to make money for the rest of her education....but she fell in love and married during that time and didn't return to college until 12 years later.
@GreenMoo (11842)
22 Mar 12
I´m making an assumption here, but I´m thinking that in America it is more common for a gap year to be used to earn the money to pay for the education. In Europe I think a gap year is more likely to be used for new experiences. Maybe I´m wrong.
@BarBaraPrz (15348)
• Hamilton, Ontario
21 Mar 12
I took two years off between high school and college. I did a lot of wandering around in the woods, between odd jobs. If I had gone to college earlier, I wouldn't have met the boy I married, so it was either a good or a bad thing -- jury's still out on that one.
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
I can´t imagine that the jury will make a quick decision there, but a couple of years wandering in the woods sounds like my idea of bliss.
1 person likes this
@maezee (22280)
• United States
21 Mar 12
I have completed one year of college and I guess right now I'm on my "gap years". But it's not doing anything fun like interning at a farm (or volunteering, whatever you will call it), but just working a full-time job. I hope to get back in school and maybe study abroad or do an internship, though. I think that's a really good experience to have under your belt!
@GreenMoo (11842)
21 Mar 12
Working full time is pretty valuable if it allows you to return to studies at some time in the future. Good luck with it, whatever you end up doing!