Why I’m Giving Myself a Gap Year

“Are you actually going to go back to school?”

“If you take a break, you won’t go back.”

“You’re just going to waste a year of your life.”

“It’s just going to make you start your career later.”

Ahhh, I have heard all of these, and some more. I am currently finishing up my psychology undergraduate degree, and was planning on going straight into graduate school for school psychology. Around the time I should’ve been taking the GRE, I started questioning whether I really wanted to go into school psychology. That’s a really specific degree, so if I get my masters in that, that’ll be my set career. Shortly after, the idea of human resources started creeping into my mind. Well, that’s an entirely different career path. Then I’d go to business graduate school. Can I even do that with a bachelors in psychology? How am I planning to pay for graduate school anyway? Where do I want to do it? I think I want to move…right? And what if I want to go back to Africa, or to a new country for a few months? If I’m in graduate school, I won’t have the money for that.. Oh! I could be a nurse! That chaos that is my mind,  is why I am taking a gap year before graduate school. I have absolutely no idea which direction I want to take for my career, I have no money saved up, and I do want to travel for a couple months next year. So, against all advice, I didn’t take the GRE and I didn’t apply for graduate school. But where does that leave me? What does that make me?

a Loser

Most of my friends are graduating in May, and are starting to line up jobs. They’re starting student teaching, accepting jobs across the country, and planning budgets for their new salaries. I’m happy for them, but it also makes me feel like a slacker. They’re doing what you’re supposed to do, what I was supposed to do. Go to college, finish in four years, then get a good job and start real life. I’m going to graduate college and move back home with my parents- isn’t that what everyone jokes about? Well, that’ll be me. I got a college degree to go back to being a waitress? Everyone said psychology was a worthless degree…should I have listened? I still have a few months to figure it all out, but knowing myself, I’ll probably be in the same direction-less place by that time. It feels like everyone is mapping out their careers and their lives and I am sitting on the couch watching (and writing about it). I have essentially no plans. I could be anywhere next year. How scary… What a loser.

an Excited Loser

So yeah, I will be moving out of my house with my roommates and back in with mom and pops come summer. But you know what? I’m pumped. Why?

  1. I will not be paying rent/ I will be free to move without breaking a lease.
  2. My parents can cook for me. (I’ll cook for you guys too…. 🙂 )
  3. I will get to live with Hollydog.
  4. I can spend more time blogging.
  5. My parents are cool and this is going to be fun.

The thing about my gap year is that I can make it whatever I want it to be. I can save up a ton for grad school or I can spend a ton traveling the world. I’ll be able to job shadow to try to narrow down what I want my career to be. I could even pick up and move to Colorado if I want. Maybe I can cross some things off my bucket list. I’m only 21.. isn’t this what your twenties are for?! I don’t want to follow a perfect life outline. I’m giving myself a gap year to explore, to learn, and to do whatever feels right.

I think if I’ve learned anything this semester, (I learned other stuff, too, mom and dad!!) it’s that there is no “right way” to do life. I’ve always had these notions in my head of what life is supposed to look like, but lately, it’s gotten fuzzy. News flash to me: you don’t HAVE to go to college. You don’t HAVE to start your career at 22. You don’t HAVE to be married by 25. You don’t HAVE to do anything. *brain blast* I’ve learned that everyone’s life looks a little different. Never in a million years did I think I’d be moving home after graduating college, but I also never would’ve thought I’d go to Africa twice before even graduating college. Life is unpredictable and exciting and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.

 

“It feels good to be lost in the right direction.”

 

Have any of you taken a gap year? Any advice for me?

 

6 Comments

  1. Muna

    December 14, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    I think everyone’s on a different path in life anyways. You shouldn’t rush into something you’re not sure about. I made that mistake. After my bachelors in Psychology (2014), I did a 1 year masters that ended up being useless, just because I felt I needed to do something right after. I took a 2 year break to get some work experience in my field of interest and I’m enrolling in another masters in Sept 2018, which is this time a well thought out decision lol — also bare in mind, I have 2 kids under 4 years hihi

    1. Erika

      December 19, 2017 at 10:59 am

      2 kids while working on a masters?! Props to you! 🙂

  2. Deborah Regen

    December 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    I am a lot older than you but can still remember the pressure I felt to start my career or go to graduate school or take a similar step when I completed my undergraduate degree. But it is silly to presume that you know exactly what to do just because you turn 21 or 22 and have a bachelor’s in hand. Some people do have that insight, but more than most do not. There is nothing wrong with taking a year off and doing some travel if you can save up some money. This is a better plan than rushing into something you might not like and then feel really stuck. The opportunity to take the GRE will be there when you are ready, if that is the path you ultimately decide to take. You are fortunate that your parents are understanding.

    1. Erika

      December 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

      I do feel really lucky that they are understanding!! Thank you for your input- it is crazy to expect a 21 year old to be able to map their whole life out!! 🙂

  3. Amy

    December 18, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Hi! I looooooove this post! I just graduated last Saturday with my bachelors in mass comm, and I have ZERO idea what I’m doing next. I totally understand feeling like an “excited loser,” though. At first, I felt lame because my other friends have enrolled in grad school and have several interviews lined up, meanwhile I’m over here freelancing, blogging, and writing a novel 😅. It was a bit scary at first, but there’s also something so freeing about being able to do whatever you want. Good luck taking your gap year! I’m excited to follow along your adventure as I do the same!

    1. Erika

      December 19, 2017 at 10:58 am

      It’s so inspiring to hear that you’re doing the same type of thing!! I’m glad you’re enjoying it! 🙂

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