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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    491
    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

  2. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Oregon, USA
    Posts
    1,004
    I am glad I went to college right away - I did a lot more self-exploration my freshman year than I probably would have done just taking a year off to travel.

    That said, I did take a year off between my junior and senior year of undergrad to be a counselor and crew leader at a work therapy program for mentally ill adults, and it changed my life in an extremely positive way and it meant that I didn't get totally burned-out on school
    Baby Sequoia Orion due October 2014!
    Other favorites: Cytheria, Arcadia, Seraphina, Caspian, Gideon

  3. #15
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    24
    I also went straight to college after graduating high school. I do not regret it because I struggled with my motivation through all four years and I am on my last 3 weeks of school now and I am SO glad to be done. I think that if I had taken a year off that I would have lost that last tiny bit of motivation that has allowed me to finish. Even though I've pretty much hated life while in school, I managed to pull my GPA up to above a 3.0 over the last two years (I started out in a science major but almost failed out, so switched to a writing based major after my second year). I do not have a really big desire to travel outside of the US though I would still jump at the opportunity. I am very much a family oriented homebody so I can still be perfectly happy at home. Plus I have my honeymoon in Charleston, SC coming up in October so I can look forward to that.
    Current faves:

    Melanie Anne, Caroline Olivia, William Gregory, Benjamin Patrick

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    779
    Today was my last day of my senior year. I'm going straight to college in the fall and I'm not excited but I'm going. My parents expect me to go and I need a job so I need to get my chemistry degree even though its relatively useless until DH finishes his military career but I'd still like to get it over with. Im however doing a study abroad for this time next year and I am pumped for that.
    If I had a baby right now they'd be:
    Isaac
    or
    Blaire

  5. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    591
    Absolutely, 100% do it! I went to Mongolia and worked in an infants' orphanage, then to India and worked on an organic crop test farm. Both were volunteer positions. Did lots of travelling around other Asian countries inbetween. It completely changed my perspective on life, increased my confidence and independence, changed what I wanted to study and was the best thing I ever did. It was also very addictive - I have done a lot more travel since then & am now living as an expat abroad
    Mother to two lovely kiddos, Mila Arden and Cato Bennett

    Currently dreaming of...
    Atlas, Callahan, Caius, Ezra, Bram, Atticus, Aspen, Sylvan, Constantine, Perrin & Pascoe
    Lyra, Elodie, Elowen, Isis, Artemis, Sylvia, Vesper, Anouk, Willa, Cassia, Elka & Sage

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