The reasons why I think doing a gap year is the best decision I’ve ever made

(Even though it hasn't truly started yet)

If you never get a little lost during an adventure is it really an adventure? — Dr. Simon Coupe (my papa)

 Taking a gap year is one of those decisions that until recently not many have felt was an option for themselves during a time of stress, choice and of course the prospect of large cost. It sure has become much more popular but the negativity and doubt that can surround it still remains I feel. Certainly from when I first suggested that I wanted to go exploring for 6 months all anyone could say was

“Well what about university?”

“Have you got a plan?”

“What if you never come back?”

“Oh I couldn’t do that, I’d never go back to education.”

Right, so no I didn’t have a plan, I thought wow I want to see the bloody world and here’s this whole year I can take with no big responsibilities yet, no kids, no mortgage, these last 7 years of school have almost killed me and I want a break! I thought, well I was born in New Zealand, I’ve dreamed and dreamed of going back (that’s a must) aside from that I had nothing. Some amazing godparents and family friends to visit and the hopes of a bungee jump but everything else cost, thought whatsoever.

My parents weren't impressed that I wanted to do this travelling lark all on my own and had no real clue what I wanted to do yet. So just as when I really wanted a dog I did my research (sadly research wasn't enough to convince them to buy me a cute lil puppy with a lil red bow for my birthday) *deep breath* Anyways!!I spent hours searching for amazing things I wanted to do and adding up all the costs of: flights, insurance, activities, accommodation, food and all the tourist tat I'll most certainly want. I then compared that information with big companies and found it was much cheaper to do it through STA Travel than individual flights and experiences. My parents finally saw how much this meant to me and how this was something I was determined to do whether they were on board or they asked questions, showed some support and they were soon on “Team Gap Year” or whatever you wanna call it.

Uganda, 2017

The worry was I wouldn’t return to further my learning and get where I knew I wanted to go. However, I knew I couldn’t achieve where I wanted to go without a degree? so I was sure this wouldn’t happen. I deferred my place to a year later so it will be waiting on my return home and it’s the easiest thing to do even at the last minute on results day as many did.

However I still needed to find someone to do it at this point during school everyone had completed first year of A-Levels and it was becoming clear while we were all applying that a larger percentage than previous years were just not ready to keep this revising and education going and many of us came to the conclusion we needed a break. Then with me suggesting that I wanted to go travel and “this is where I want to go...anywhere you’re interested in?” meant that discussions and agreements to postpone were made. Several of my friends and people I’m not too close with chose to take gap years, I’m sure they’d agree it was a good decision. Now my mums happy because I’m not exploring all alone (However if push came to shove and nobody wanted to come, HELL YES I would’ve gone alone).

Even if you feel there is nobody to accompany you, there are amazing companies designed for this exact issue to set you up with a group of people in a similar position (The Real Gap Experience). It’s organised through the company and you can get to know the other travellers before you go. Imagine not seeing all these amazing things because somebody else doesn’t want to tag along? Absolute rubbish! Put yourself out there and if you want to see Bali, you bloody go to Bali! Don’t let anybody stop you from seeing the weird and wonderful planet we’re on.

Reasons why I strongly recommend it:
  • Improving your mental health (key break from stress and deadlines)
  • One of few chances to work, save and spend without worry over adult responsibilities yet to begin
  • A chance to see a whole new incredible country if not several and appreciate the world more
  • Space and time to truly decide what you want to achieve and do in your time on this Earth if unsure.
  • A frickin break
  • Independence without the worry of loneliness or deadlines at university
  • Grow confidence
  • Learn important life skills
  • A chance to see what is out there waiting for you to encourage you to work harder on return

I haven’t even gone or done anything amazing yet, but it’s been so interesting to work hard at my full time job and see an income and make decisions on saving and planning where to go. I’ve got two younger siblings both with the stress of exams and revision. At the end of my 9-5 day which although can involve some stress, I can actually switch off and take care of myself and my mental health.

Also: a lot of people applying to university this year have messaged me wondering if you've already sent off your application is it then possible to change it to the year later. The answer, yes! Aslong as you meet whatever requirements they ask of you! If they ask for three C's you must meet that before you can ask them to defer it and they must accept. If you get an unconditional you can ask for this straight away however as you have no requirements to hit, you're perfect enough for them without those A's! Many people I know also applied, accepted offers, then when the time came rejected and re-applied the year of your gap anyways! (Many universities will take a sure bet of grades over a set of predictions if you choose to re-apply and competing with the year below your own the following year aswell.)

I’m so excited to share my adventures with you guys and show you all the things I’m doing and that you could do if you desire that. Hope this was helpful and look out for my next blog post!

Keep smiling, Megs

Feb 2018


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