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Gap Years: What Do They Entail?

Lanie Render, Reporter

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All too often, high school graduates find themselves taking a year before college. For them, it is a time to self- reflect, acquire funds and prepare for the next chapter in their lives. From an outsider’s perspective, gap years can appear expensive, entitled and useless. So what essentially is this year and how do individuals utilize it?

Wikipedia defines this year as a year break “aimed at promoting a mature outlook with which to absorb the benefits of higher education.” This definition encompasses an array of different possibilities. One can maturely grow from traveling, or interning full time. The point is, typically there is a growth that is occurring for the duration of those 12 months.

At some institutions, universities encourage students taking a year off with their built in service curriculums to prepare young adults.

How do BV West students feel about this trend? For some, the idea of a gap year is appealing, but they cannot find the funds to support these endeavors.

“A gap year sounds amazing,” senior Anh Nguyen said. “Unfortunately my parents would not support it and I don’t have that kind of money.”

For others, a gap year is in their realm of possibilities and they plan on taking advantage of the opportunity.

Senior Shelby Hoelting chose to do a gap year that caters to her taste and future plans.

“Mine isn’t a super traditional gap year or a traditional year in school either,” Hoelting said. “I’ve had a lot going on this year, so it’s been hard especially to focus just on school.”

After talking with her family, Hoelting decided the best option lied within taking a break to relieve stress while she enrolls in a handful of online classes at Johnson County Community College. Once this year is done, she plans on attending Kansas State University.

Hoelting’s future plans show how diverse gap years can be. Ultimately, they are a year for self- exploration and encompass a multitude of different possibilities.

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