Pros, cons of waiting to start higher education

As my senior year comes to a close, the idea of leaving Lawrence to start out on my own becomes more and more daunting. A new experience at a new school in a new town all seems very…new.

For some, moving on from high school directly to college is not the most appealing scenario. They want to go out and experience the world while in the “prime of their lives,” but travel and exploration requires something not everyone has: money.

If I had the funds to go backpacking across Europe for a semester or two, I would, but for myself, and many other seniors, that dream will have to wait. Either lack of funds or pressure from parents to start school right away can be factors in continuing straight to college.

College is a very expensive necessity, and for the students who have to support themselves, working before starting their university career is the only option.

As the paychecks start to flow in, those graduated students might see the new funds as enough to support their current lifestyle, diminishing their want for higher education. This can result in issues later on in life because without college a college degree, the jobs one can find nowadays are not always well-paying enough to provide for a family or an attempt to move up the social ladder.

I’m not saying everyone has to go to college, but for those who want to now, taking a year off might change your mind, and the decision that change might result in could be one you regret.

The college experience is one bigger than the high level of learning, it consists of social experiences and growing opportunities that stretch us and push us to find our true selves.

I think it is important for everyone to get the experience of separating from their family and going out on their own, and if you take a gap year you might get a taste of that, but the social aspects will be harder to obtain. There is the possibility that you will continue to only surround yourself with people you’ve known all your life, not allowing yourself to branch out and meet new people.

I know that if I was given the freedom to travel the world I might not want to go back to the academic sphere, but if the school was to set me up with a program and give me the funds, that might change my mind. Depending on where you go, schools are starting to set up opportunities for gap year service work. If this is the path for you, by all means take it. We need a little more help in the world.