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Why every high school graduate should take a gap year.

In my a gap year student

By Rachel StavPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
Top Story - March 2022
Highschool Graduation Photo. Photo by author.

I am currently a “gap year student” they would call it on paper.

Going back into high school, I was lost, confused, lonely, and probably the weirdest hormonal state I have ever been in, especially near the end of Junior year heading into being a senior. College applications and the pressure for a freaking sixteen-year-old is on, not to mention this was 2020 so Covid-19 had just hit us. Despite everything being super chaotic I had to make a choice for which colleges I wanted to go to. Listen, I wasn’t the best student of all time but also I cared just enough so I can have a great future as they love to tell me. Get into a good school, find what you want, graduate, get a job, and the list goes on and on.

Well unlike many of my other friends who applied to literally 10–20 schools I had two dream schools, Colombia and New York University. Any other University did not sound appealing to me. I am originally from California and had no intention of staying in my suburban area, and no intention of going to LA like most teens that I knew wanted too. I have always been an independent person so moving across the country to New York City seemed the coolest and best option for me. Not to mention I just am obsessed with the city, and everything it has to offer.

So I applied to two schools.

Columbia University and New York University. Columbia University as an early decision applicant and found out in December of 2020 I was not accepted. Shed the tears whatever. Onto the next. I applied for my second University of choice which was really more a dream school to me than Columbia at that time or so I convinced myself it was (lol).

Started working and tweaking on my NYU application spending way too many hours on my essays turned it in for ED #2 (early decision). Got the acceptance email on February 17th of 2021. Wow, I made it into my dream college, what an amazing feeling. However, like most kids, I just went to school for the past twelve years of my life, and now you’re asking me to go back for another four? Plus graduate school? (graduate school is not optional in my household, it’s mandatory)

My mind was spinning in a hundred different directions. A part of me was really excited to get the hell out of my area and meet so many new people, live in my dream city, but also another side of me was telling me it was not the right choice to just hop right back into another big social gang and study something I am not even sure about. Life isn’t about rushing to the finish line. I wanted to try new things without the obligation of attending a University and having the responsibility to do well while trying to figure myself out. While I was so grateful and ecstatic I got into my dream school, I knew I just needed to take a different path than most kids my age.

Ever since I was young I have been a creative person, painting, playing piano, being a competitive dancer, learning guitar, and recently taking on singing and songwriting in my free time. But I also knew I wanted to be financially free as soon as possible and was ready to put in the work to become a millionaire. We all know money takes time to grow and lots of failures as I am learning in this gap year. I grew up with a single mom who was very supportive of most of my decisions following my high school years but also she got sick of me telling her I wanted to do something “amazing” without actually ever doing it. To be honest in high school because I essentially had no real identity besides hanging out with my friends and caring too much about what people thought, I had no confidence to do what I really wanted to accomplish in this life.

So finally breaking away from all of my social gatherings, parties, and home life in the Silicon Valley I took it upon myself to fly over to South Korea where my grandparents live, as well as 75% of my extended family members. To be honest, before traveling here I wanted to go all around the world and travel freely but with living costs and Covid-19 that was just not possible.

So it’s now been about five-ish months into my gap year. What have I accomplished? Having the ability to be away from my hometown has only propelled me to stop caring about people’s opinions and just do it (Nike says it best).

I started my own online business ( if you want to check it out hehe, a podcast, and continue to practice my music interest daily to make a career out of it one day. Granted, I still have a long way to go and this is just the beginning but finally, I found a sense of confidence, self-identity, inner-healing, and so much more of a mental break that was needed straight out of high school. I will never understand why there is such a huge pressure on young kids to have everything figured out within a couple of months and just thrown into the waters only leading us to drown. I really recommend taking a few months off, or a year to figure out what it is that we want from this life. Is it money? Fame? A family? After all, were young, and imagine if even this year you take off does not go as planned, like mine something good will come of it. Whether it's maturity or changing your mentality on life, and maybe even changing physically, it’s so important to prioritize that over just going down a path society wants you to take.

The biggest thing I have come to learn is that everything takes hard work, dedication, and the ability to move forward with resilience. But a bigger lesson is to just get started and not let anybody’s opinion of you and your ideas not allow you to move forward on your journey of life and what you were meant to do.

Without this gap year, I probably would’ve gone to college and got myself stuck in the same loop again. Study something I am not passionate about, be sad about it, not have the extra time to figure out what it is that I really want, or even just get stuck with the wrong crowd because I have no sense of self-identity. Take it steady and don’t take other peoples’ validation seriously. If you’re asking (yes I have gotten all the questions of “why do you wanna do this?” “why are you taking a gap year” “that’s stupid” blah blah blah) Guess what? Nobody needs to understand your decisions for your life, besides yourself. Not even your mom. As long as it is really creating a better reality for you, then it is nobody’s responsibility to understand what you want to do. (I’m not talking about going against your mom’s word and starting doing drugs, I do not condone, but you know what I mean)

Also PSA I do believe education is important, and if you have the means to be properly educated do not take it for granted. I am so blessed and grateful to have made it this far, and getting into the college of my dreams. I am very excited to attend this fall. That is really it for me! Make it happen whatever it is. Good luck!


About the Creator

Rachel Stav

A Genz who wants to share with the world what her own struggles and opinions might be even if people don't care to listen. If you do read my stuff I highly appreciate it and hope that some of it is relatable.

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Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (3)

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  • Rachel Moor2 years ago

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  • Grase Freeman2 years ago

    Very informative and interesting article. I learned a lot of things. My best assistant in writing an article or miscellaneous text, <a href=""></a> the best writers work here. They write any texts of varying complexity in a short time. Contact them.

  • Wow. I really appreciate that you wrote this. I just graduated two weeks ago and I’m taking a gap year because my dream college (Oberlin College) did not accept me. I’ve had so many freak outs about whether or not this was a good decision, and reading this really made me feel a lot better. I hope the rest of your gap year is great!

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