Millions of college-age students have to make a difficult decision soon. Spending all that money and time has always been a significant choice, but now it’s more fraught. The accredited institutions that are now suddenly offering students an online education simply haven’t committed the time or effort to actually be good at it. They’re offering something without effectiveness, polish or insight.
The alternative is a gap year. Not just for college students, but for high school students and even adults.
The gap year has a terrible name. It implies that the year is somehow wasted, that it’s a gap snuck in between the stuff that you’re supposed to be doing.
But of course, it’s not that at all. Living is what we’re supposed to be doing. Contributing. Learning. Figuring out how to make things better. The stuff we’re not doing when we’re simply complying–that’s the point. Our compliance years are the gap.
And we should commit our time with intention.
If you can afford it, this is a powerful moment to invest in the next chapter of who you are and what you will become.
For an adult, that’s an expensive commitment. To walk away from your freelance path or your job search to dig in to become the leader and connector and expert you’ve always hoped to become.
But for a student, it’s actually a bargain. It’s a chance to step off the carousel of conformity and lockstep obedience and actually commit to a path of your own choosing. Keep your tuition money and put it to work for you, not for some football team.
A month, a semester, or an entire year. A chance to create a change, to make an impact, to cause a shift in your posture that you’ll have forever.
We’ve become ever more suspicious of the bargain that the industrial world has been offering: compliance in exchange for stability. The alternative is to own your path and to do the incredibly difficult work of choosing with intent and then sticking with it.
The discomfort people feel when they consider a gap year is precisely why we ought to spend more time considering it.