You don’t know what to do.
You’re a senior in high school and you don’t know what the next step is.
Everyone else seems to know. Your friends have already applied to colleges and most have enrolled. They have their plans mapped out. You’re excited for them, sure, but also frustrated. Why does it seem so easy for them to know what to do after high school?
It doesn’t help that people are constantly asking you what your “plans” are. You’re tired of trying to make something up that sounds like you won’t be wasting your time. But the doubt persists: will you actually be wasting your time?
Most young people have been in your shoes. Our culture expects people to have their life planned out, with a clear vision of what they want, by the time they are eighteen. That’s a lot of pressure to answer big questions.
Furthermore, many students blindly follow their friends’ plans. They go to college, go into debt, and still wrestle with the same questions.
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The pressures to have everything figured out, and the assumed answers that many young people accept, have pushed a lot of students into debt, wasted time, and lost opportunity.
That’s why the “gap year” is an increasingly popular alternative. A gap year is just what it sounds like. It’s a period of time (often a year) between high school and whatever is next. It’s an opportunity to slow down, pursue different opportunities and interests, dig into your purpose, learn new skills, save money, gain work experience, and much more.
Sometimes, college follows a gap year. Sometimes it doesn’t.
If you are a senior in high school or a recent high school graduate, consider taking a gap year before attending college if you’re still not sure what you want to do. Here are just a couple ideas that you could incorporate into your gap year.
Gain Work Experience
Your gap year is a great opportunity to get a job, earn some money, and gain some solid work experience. Jobs in retail, restaurants, and other service industries are usually fairly easy to get and they will teach you a lot.
Perhaps you want to be your own boss eventually. A gap year can be a great time to start a new entrepreneurial project.
Even if you decide to attend college after your gap year, you can rest assured knowing that you didn’t waste your year off. You made and saved money and now have some substantial experience to put on your resume.
Zero-in On Your Life Purpose Plan
Chances are, if you’re taking a gap year, you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life.
Your gap year is a perfect time to sit down with some planning materials (like a notebook and a pen). It’s time to dig into your life purpose. Reflect on your strengths, interests, passions, people groups you care deeply about, and more.
What is God calling you to do?
If you need a framework to find clarity for your life purpose, enroll in Navigate by Unbound. Navigate is a course that teaches Christian young people how to make big life decisions with intentionality, clarity, and confidence.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.