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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    489
    Take a gap year. Unless you're terribly excited about starting college, have an idea of what you want to do in college, etc...a gap year is a great idea.

    I took two gap years, partially because I didn't know what I wanted to study and a general liberal arts major seemed like a waste of time to me (it's not), and partially because I wasn't able to afford school except for community college, and I didn't want to do that, so I worked to save up money so I could go away to school (best decision of my life).

    When I got to college as a freshman, I was two years older than most of the other students in a few of my classes (depending on the school you choose, some have a larger adult-ed program, more returning students...so my night classes had lots of people from various ages and backgrounds, but starting out a counselor put me in lots of classes with mainly incoming freshman from HS). There was a notable difference between the classes full of 18 year olds straight out of HS and the 20 or 24 or 30 year olds who were there because they desperately wanted to be back in school and worked hard to get there. Plenty of 18 year olds thrive in college, but plenty of them are as annoyed about being there as they were in high school, are only going because their parents wanted them to, and are too busy acting cool by strolling in late and rolling their eyes and texting to actually participate and enhance everyone's learning experience.

    I regret not traveling more. Originally, after HS, I wanted to go work with children in Cambodia, but the programs I found were all quite costly. I didn't know then about free or low-cost volunteer opportunities. You can go to TONS of places, commit to anywhere from a week to a year +, pay something like $5-$15 a week for housing and meals, and work in the community. There are options domestically and internationally. Anything from nannying, to staying on a working farm, to teaching English, to building schools, to working with wildlife or at a hospital.

    College will always be there. You can always find a way to get a higher education if you work hard. But as you get older, life gets more serious, commitments get more common, and the opportunities to travel for very little money start to slip away.
    Lillian Elizabeth 6.16.13

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