Nowadays more and more teenagers take a gap year before entering university. Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the disadvantages?
In recent years, taking a year off has become a prevalent and publicly recognised phenomenon. Whether the advantages of this outweigh the drawbacks is still a debatable question and in my opinion, the answer depends on the activities students get involved in. In case high school graduates spend this time travelling and working, the benefits would be far more important. By taking trips to other countries and having part-time jobs, these young adults can be exposed to different cultures and lifestyles and earn their own livelihood. Thanks to such social understanding and source of income, they would be more mature, more financially independent and more confident, which may give them a competitive advantage when competing for a job in the future. A case in point is that candidates having wider social knowledge and more confidence are more likely to be employed by big multinational corporates than those who do not. Nevertheless, if these gappers waste the year on meaningless activities, the negative implications will be greater. Instead of spending this time travelling, working, or attending social clubs, many of those are reported to be buried in video games and addicted drugs. This dissolve lifestyle might lead to other knock-on effects when high school leavers return to education, one of which is that they lack the motivation to study. Consequently, they eill soon lag behind peers and have a tendency to drop out of university, which can be detrimental to their future employability/ career prospects. In conclusion, although it is disadvantageous to spend time on unhealthy hobbies during the gap year, the disadvantages will be surpassed by the advantages if gappers use this time to travel and work.