In lieu of waking up and reading the morning paper, when I wake up in the morning, I grab my phone and start perusing my various social media platforms. This is a way for me to simultaneously catch up with my friends and family as well as delve into the minds of bloggers and journalists through their articles.
This morning an article from everyone's favourite University tabloid, The Tab, caught my eye. The article is titled, "Stop slagging off 'Gap Yah's' when you didn't take one". As someone that didn't take a gap year, but know a handful of people who did, I thought this might be an interesting insight into how playing on the gap year student stereotype, that they never stop talking about their gap year, can not only get tiresome and annoying but also can take it's toll on an individual. Having been so intrigued by the title I was disappointed to see that the first sentence of the article was:
We all know you're just jealous.
This particular phrase may have hit a nerve because I really don't like being told what to feel, especially if the person is completely wrong about what I'm actually feeling. I'm definitely not jealous of the students who took a gap year. If anything I couldn't care less if someone took a gap year or not! Sure if you took a gap year or two, it'll give you an ice breaker and a bunch of good stories to tell, but otherwise you're no different to another well-travelled person. So now let's talk about how my decision to go to University hasn't meant that I've "skipped a step", but rather waited for a time where I can potentially fully support my travels without the deadline of going to University.
Let's start off with the assumption that post University everyone is now bound to one country because of crippling debt. Where this can often be the case, there are a lot of times where there are work arounds. A friend of mine decided to do her "gap year" post University. She got a decently paying job with her new degree and earned the money she needed to get rid of debt as well as travel. Just like most gap year students work and travel, post University it's possible to do that too. So, it looks like I've still got the opportunity to visit Angkor Wat after all.
Secondly, going to University doesn't hinder your ability to learn about new cultures. If anything, it means you get to immerse yourself into a bunch of new cultures without having to fly across the world! The amount of people you meet from all over the world is insane and international students are always happy to share with you and talk to you about their home. If you're lucky, they'll get a care package from home and want to share that little bit of home with you. It doesn't always take a trip across the world to learn foreign phrases or pub quiz answers.
So I hope that shows that I haven't yet lost my chance to see the world. I've just managed to broaden my network of couches I can crash on and learned about the best restaurants to eat and and sights to see from others who have lived in the places I want to visit. So maybe, instead of thinking that we're all jealous we didn't take a gap year, you can stop trying to defend your choice to take one by telling me I've missed my opportunity.
Side note: The author talks about how many students who take gap years often work in order to fund their trips or potentially even parts of their tuition fees. I'd just like to take a moment to say props to you guys for taking things into your own hands and working hard to support yourselves!