Saturday, December 23, 2023

Mind the Gap

Environmental & Science Education, Education, Teaching and Learning, Students, Society, Miscellaneous

Ed Hessler

Until recently, a gap year has been narrowly thought of as a student sabbatical -- 9 months in length copying the academic year.  There are two activity peaks, one between high school and college, the other between college and graduate training.

But gap years or periods of "gapness" now include students and non-students between jobs, careers and for a variety of other reasons. And also of varying lengths.

Washington University in St. Louis biology professor Joanne E. Strassmann, asks and comments on this question: How can you go wrong with a gap year?  "We don't get gap years in life, though we do get sabbaticals in many jobs". 
She offers some advice: "So think hard about what you want to achieve. Keep a journal. ... Have fun! But also remember there is nothing wrong with plunging right into the next step. I did, though none of my children did." 

Dr. Strassmann provides some examples of a poor use of a gap year and how to avoid it. You want to profit from a gap year: grow, know yourself a little better, otherwise "You may just be in a predictable rut." 

If you or someone you know is thinking about one, I think it has some useful advice and considerations so you can make a smart decision.


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