If you can stand in space, just for a little while, a new door will open, or you’ll be able to see in the dark after a while. You’ll adjust - J. Campion
Many parents are appalled by the idea of their child wanting to take a gap year. I have two sons and when my boys were in high school, I was one of those parents who consistently worried about the unfathomable gap year.
What's Up With The Parents?
Here are some of the concerns going through your parents’ minds when they do not want you to take a gap year.
Having clearly planned answers to these questions may help you convince your parents that you won’t be staying home playing video games or watching Netflix.
Have A Plan
If you decide to take a gap year, you should have a solid plan about what you would like to do. You will show that you are taking the next step of your life journey as seriously as those young people out there who already know what they want to do and are ready to move forward.
The difference between you and the 'other kids' is that you still have not figured your next educational or career step. You do not know what you want to do in your life. You do not want to jump into the first opportunity because your parents think it has the best career path. You do not want to choose a college/university program simply because your school counsellor said it is the best fit. Now that you have finished high school, you just want to take your time and explore different opportunities before taking that life altering decision.
You Are Not The Only One
Well, this is a normal feeling and I see your point. Guess what? Not all the 'other kids' have it figured out either.
Taking gap year is a great idea and has plenty of benefits particularly if
I understand that it can be scary to choose one experience when there are so many options out there.
Here is a tip for you, you will still have time to explore all the options. What matters is that you do not give up on your plan to explore these opportunities. You can gain a better perspective on different careers and explore them through volunteering, summer internships or part-time jobs.
What Is Your Parents' Concern?
Here is the question that parents ask me: What do young people do during a gap year?
Young people typically take a gap year to travel, explore and earn some money. There are many opportunities out there to choose from and they involve volunteering, internships, hands-on education or certification and work. While travel seems to be the perfect choice, many young people do stay close to home and explore these experiences without travel which is what many young people do during a gap year.
While there may be more to a gap year, and you should take that year off if you think you need it, you CAN still find your life’s purpose if you choose a different path. All you have to do is take your time reflecting on what is important to you and you will figure it out. One step at a time!
Dr. Hoda Kilani is a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). As a Career Literacy Coach, she works with clients in private practice, event facilitation, and conference presentations.
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