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Considering a Gap Year

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So, as the date to accept my offer to university looms ahead, I've been thinking about taking a Gap year more and more. I feel burnt out from all the school work and twelve years of school really has taken its toll on me. Right now I'm thinking about accepting my offer to Queen's for Science. I don't really know what I want to pursue in my studies next year, so I was thinking about taking whatever courses that interest me in first year and deciding later.

However, I've also been looking up volunteering opportunities during my Gap Year. This program called Katimavik sounded really interesting to me. Groups of youth from different parts of the country volunteer and stay in different communities for a 6 month period. THe idea is to gain cultural knowledge, language skills, and life skills-such as cooking, cleans, etc. It doesn't hurt that the program is pretty inexpensive too. Anyway, groups are sent out in July and January. I'm too late to apply to the July group, although I can get onto a list of replacements if anyone accepted to the program drops out. However, if I apply now, they can let me know by August 1st whether I've been accepted to on of the January groups. Selection is random though so I don't know whether I can get into the program. If I don't get in, I'll feel like it's a waste of a year.I can't do it after university because they only accept people ages 17-21.

So, what do you guys think I should do? Apply to a deferral at Queen's and hope to get into Katimavik, or accept my offer to Queen's and hope I get accepted to Katimavik?
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2 replies
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You should definitely pursue a gap year if you are feeling burnt out. You will be paying tens of thousands of dollars for a degree, and unless you go in with a strong work ethic and determination to succeed, you will most likely be wasting both your time and money. It is much easier and cheaper to take a gap year between high school and undergrad than between undergrad and grad/professional school.

A gap year can give you the time to explore possible career paths, gain valuable experience and skills, find out more about yourself, and destress at the same time. Katimavik sounds like a program that will give you a great experience and skill set that employers and grad/professional schools will look for. Even if you don't get accepted into the program, there are other great gap year resources that you could draw upon. Consider, for example, taking an unpaid/paid internship somewhere. Alternatively, save some money for school by taking a high school entry-level job. The key is to do something productive during the year so that you can add something meaningful to your resume.

The difference between students who have taken a gap year and those who haven't is, from my experience, quite substantial. Gap year students are more determined and focused on what they want from their education, whereas those who elected to keep on going (but had reservations about doing so) usually burn out quite quickly. The latter are miserable. Do yourself a favour and don't make yourself unhappy by giving into parental and peer pressures of continuing with your education. There is no better time than at your age to really find out what you want to do with your life.
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A photo of tobywashere tobywashere
After the summer and during the start of grade 12, I was almost certain that I would take a gap year. I actually really wanted to do Katimavik, and I even visited a Katimavik house to see what it's like. The people in the group were really cool, and it seemed like fun.
But then I changed my mind and decided to go to university. I realized that taking a gap year is delaying your career and giving up a year's worth of potential salary and career progression. Also, did you know that a majority of students take more than four years to finish a four year degree? Are you sure you want to spend this time?
Here's a link that can help you make a decision
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