Graduating in 2020 was not what you expected. The back half of the year was filled with confusion, cancelled events, unexpected online learning, and coping with social distancing. It’s tough enough finishing school and saying goodbye to your friends – but being forced to do it several months early, without any warning, made the process even more difficult and heartbreaking. You graduated online. Maybe you were lucky enough to drive around your school and honk your car horn. Maybe not. So what now? You may be wondering, “should I take a gap year?”

Universities all over the world are struggling with how to handle the upcoming fall semester. Will classes be online? Face to face? A combination of both? Will the education be as good in an online or hybrid setting? Will it be worth the cost, especially in an educational landscape where the cost has been increasingly difficult to justify in regular years?

These questions are leading students to consider taking a gap year this fall, bypassing higher education altogether for a year as they work, grow, and discover their strengths as people in the real world.

Traditionally, gap year programs involve some element of travel. It’s beneficial for recent grads to get out and experience life, explore culture, get a feel for who they are, and what they want to be doing. For many families, this makes a traditional gap year approach cost-prohibitive, as travel isn’t cheap. This year, finances are an even greater problem for many families, and travel is at a relative stand-still. It begs the question:

How can a gap year in 2020 still be beneficial?

If you ask us, this fall is the perfect time for a virtual, global gap year experience. The ability to interact with other people, explore different cultures, engage in meaningful experiences, and grow as a person are all still possible through technology and a platform of creative exploration.

The year between high school and college is the most common time for a gap year. According to data from the Gap Year Association, people who take a gap year benefit greatly from self-discovery during that time. This leads them to perform better in college, experience higher graduation rates, and choose career paths that are more aligned with their true interests, rather than blindly jumping into a field of study after high school.

From The Gap Year Association: The survey below asked gappers to indicate how much they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements. All statements began with, “My Gap Year…” The 23 statements fell into4 categories pertaining to 4 areas of Gap Year Impact on one’s life: Personal, Career, Citizenship,and Academic.

What’s it do for me?

A gap year helps people enter the next phase of their life with greater maturity, more preparedness, and taking the year quells the feeling of being “burned out” after 12 years of grade school. It provides an opportunity to work, explore trades, and earn money (for college or life beyond the gap year).

Thing is, simply taking a year off isn’t going to help. Spending a gap year doing nothing but playing video games or making TikTok videos isn’t going to help chart new paths in life. Those things are fine to do, but a quality gap year has some structure, some purpose, and some goals in mind.

This year, with the pandemic still raging and the college experience in question, is the perfect time for a virtual, global gap year that can provide the cultural and personal exploration you need to grow as a person, at an affordable price, and in a safe environment. Reach out to learn how Worldly can help you reach your potential and connect you – with you.