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Give me a break : Gap year

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Gap year, or taking a year off before the next stage of education, largely an international concept, seems to be gaining ground in the Indian schooling environment as well. As school and college admissions approach, students talk about whether it is a worthwhile choice to take.

Varun Sreedhar, III, B. Tech Industrial Engineering and Management, RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru

A gap year is worth it only if you already have admission to a college and they allow you to join a year later. One of my friends was admitted to a university in USA in 2014. He asked the college if they would grant him admission in 2015. He took the year off, travelled, worked on projects and joined college in 2015, where he’s doing well. On the flip side, another friend took a year off and planned to seek admission next year. She got into a different college than the one she wanted. She’s enjoying herself, but she could’ve done a lot more. It all depends on how much security you have.

Kavya Sreekumar, II, B.A. Journalism, MOP Vaishnav College For Women, Chennai

Taking a gap year is completely wonderful if it is the individual’s choice. If they feel taking time off will help them gain clarity on what they want to do or help them achieve their desired results, such as higher test scores for competitive examinations or the college of their choice, they should go for it. It is better to take a decision that you’re content with rather than do something and regret it later. Many of my friends who took gap years used it for productive reasons — volunteering, learning a new language, or studying for exams. It helped them be efficient and find their way to their goals, and I think it’s great.

Ananth Raghuram, III, B. Tech Chemical Engineering Integrated, Sastra University, Thanjavur

Two years ago, I had taken my Board exams and numerous other entrance exams. I had no breathing space at all. All I did was wake up, study, eat, write tests and go back to sleep. The rigidity of this routine was nerve-wracking — and it’s so much worse today. The stress that engineering students go through is unimaginable. Perhaps, they should take time to let off steam, relax and get ready for the next big phase of their lives. In that case, maybe the students are in need of a gap year.

Tamasaa Ramanujam, Class XII, Siva Swami Kalalaya, Chennai

I’ve been there and done that. A gap year can offer you a whole range of perspectives about life and the choices you make as long as you utilise it well — and make a conscious effort to be better than you were the year before. They can end up being ordinary and unsatisfactory if you “just want a break from everything”. Make a choice to do things you couldn’t do in school or college. Gap years are underrated, and a gift you’re giving yourself to make the best out of your life. However, in order to make it successful, you need to have grit, motivation and a clear goal.

Shwetha S Nair, II, BDS, Sinhagad Dental College and Hospital, Pune

Gap years break the continuity of a person’s studies. Once you move away from the schooling system for a year, and the link breaks, you lose concentration. With your new free time, distractions come your way. You lose the urge to study. And if we don’t put the year to good use, this is the equivalent of wasting an entire year. – Courtesy

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