Why are youths taking a gap year before university?

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By Phyllis Lee

More and more youths are starting to take up gap years in Singapore – which is when students choose to take a year’s break before university to do various activities.

Although there are no official statistics to prove the rising trend in taking a gap year, there has been a growing sentiment amongst the younger generation that making such a decision can be beneficial for them.

Taking a gap year can definitely boost one’s personal growth. This is regardless of whether youths choose to work, volunteer or travel during the time that they have. The Independent gathers the top three reasons why gap years are so appealing to youths.

1) Allow youths to explore what they want to study or do in life

Even some adults aren’t sure about what they want to do in life, so adolescents will naturally have a hard time doing so. Rather than heading straight into a major they aren’t entirely sure about and spending the next three years regretting their decisions, it is prudent for youths to take some time to learn about themselves first.

Taking a year off to figure out the best field of study for themselves will push youths to find their direction in life. The best way to do this is through internships, where youths can get a taste of the working world before deciding on the industry that they want to commit to for life.

2) Prevents youths from feeling burnt out

Many youths take a year off to travel overseas or volunteer for community projects. This change in environment from years of non-stop education can relax their minds before they enter university.

After experiencing different cultures in other countries and interacting with people of different social classes, youths will be more likely to appreciate what they have in their lives. This will keep them motivated to study hard when they return for university.

3) Adds value to portfolio

An extra year of experience that not everyone else has may help youths stand out to future employers. Taking a gap year shows that an individual has the passion and drive to improve himself or herself. It proves that the person is responsible enough to plan out an entire year filled with worthwhile activities.

This Monday, Straits Times reported that two girls who graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic in May are taking a gap year to run a café in the school’s campus.

Similar self-initiated activities will display youths’ personalities and soft skills, such as determination and innovation.

If youths worked during the year, the testimonials that they’ve gained will also put them in good stead.