While doing an array of jobs to finance his stay in Spain, Ralph did acquire much financial literacy and acumen. Ralph realized that he had a special talent for the foreign languages and thereby decided to pursue this aptitude more seriously on joining college. When Ralph returned back to the US, his friends and family were amazed to notice the independence and confidence that marked his new personality. No wonder, the gap year had done much good to Ralph. Luckily, there are many students like Ralph who believe that after dedicating almost 12 years to academic pursuits, they need to take a year off to recharge themselves and to gain maturity.
Though, academic achievements are of immense importance, yet this is also a fact that one also needs to learn from the school of life. Many a times the students remain so engrossed running on the academic treadmill that they totally get severed from the wisdom and values inherent in the real life. Thereby, they tend to develop an outlook towards life that happens to be utterly theoretical.
They fail to develop a sense of maturity by facing the challenges inherent in the real life. Therefore a gap year is indeed an ideal opportunity to get off the academic treadmill and to experience life as it really happens to be (Griffith 20). Gap year allows a young person the opportunity to mature and grow up while studying in the school of real life. Students can use the gap year to place themselves in a variety of new situations and circumstances (Griffith 20). Some may choose to travel, while others may choose to volunteer with some local or international philanthropic organization.
Many students may use a gap year to explore their interest and abilities in the field of arts and crafts. Then there may be individuals who may decide to learn a new language or to pursue sports. The crux of the matter is that taking a year off before college allows a student to get involved in activities that one may never be able to opt for while pursuing a regular academic life (Griffith 16). No wonder, a gap year is indeed a gateway to gain maturity and practical acumen.
The offbeat course opted for by a student during a gap year many a times requires one to push oneself into new and strange scenarios and to interact with people from different walks of life. This simply could not be expected from a regular academic life. Thereby, the varied experiences that a student comes across during a gap year before the college, facilitates one with varied facets of the real life, an opportunity that could go a long way in polishing and honing the practical abilities and worldly skills of an individual (Griffity 71).
Griffith, Susan. Taking a Gap Year. New York: Vacation Work Publications, 2005. Print.
Haigler, Karl, and Rae Nelson. The Gap-Year Advantage. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin,
Hulstrand, Janet. “Time Out: The Gap Year Abroad”. International Educator March/April
Martin, Andrew J. “Should Students have a Gap Year? Motivation and Performance Factors
Relevant to Time Out after Completing School”. Journal of Educational Psychology
102.3 (2010): 561-576. Print.
Morgan, Tom. “Gap Year Adventurers Can Prosper in Job Hunt”. Daily Post 20 August 2009
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Gap-Year Exchange Students”. Foreign Language Annals 44.2 (2011): 381-386.