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Social conditioning has led us to believe that we need to finish school, go to college, maybe pursue higher studies or MBA and finally settle for a job. This trajectory was perhaps more rigidly defined for earlier generations, with less room for maneuvering.
However, in the recent years, the millennial generation is freely toying with the idea of breaking this trajectory and indulging in what is called a ‘Gap Year’.
Traditional interpretations and ideas regarding a gap year included frowns from parents and distant relatives, it was associated with ‘wastage of time’ and was seen as a marker of aimlessness or ‘vellagiri’ as the Punjabis like to call it.
But nowadays, the gap year is an attractive opportunity. It is an opportunity for self growth, analysis, exploration and is essentially a process of figuring life out.
Granted, that a gap year cannot provide us with all the answers in life and it’s not like we’d magically wake up one day in the middle of it with an epiphany that has suddenly given us clarity, but that doesn’t mean it should be undervalued.
What can be done in a gap year?
Anyone can take a gap year. From school graduates to college graduates to even people who have started working and perhaps need to explore further. There is no shame in taking a gap year. It’s just an additional opportunity for us to understand ourselves better and evolve in order to further understand what we want from life.
It is normal to be unsure of your decisions at any point in time. Whether its confusion regarding choosing a particular course or simply figuring out whether someone wants to pursue higher studies, what kind of colleges to consider etc. The gap year is just another chance to transcend into surety.
For some people it is a break from the rat race, for others, it is a time they invest in developing new skills, taking up internships or even travelling. The idea of ‘a year wasted’ is slowly fading away as people are embracing this quest for self exploration.
Parental support and the changing ideology towards academics, careers and the idea of settling down are major contributors to the growing popularity of the gap year.
As someone who has played around with the idea of perhaps taking a gap year, I have to say that the notion is quite appealing. I often find myself at crossroads where I face ambiguity in terms of my goals and aspirations. A gap year is kind of like a safety net. There is nothing to lose and there is complete freedom to be true to yourself.
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