Gap Year: Yay or Nay?


Maybe you’re in high school and are wondering if you should take a gap year after you graduate from IISJ. Wikipedia defines a gap year as a “year-long break before or after college/university during which students engage in various educational and developmental activities, such as travel or some type of regular work.” True. But let’s dig deeper. 

“Taking a gap year is a huge decision,” says Yui Takahashi. She graduated from IISJ in 2019 and took a gap year. She is now studying in New York City at St. John’s University. Yui says she took a year off to gain real life experience before going to college. Since her life until then only revolved around schoolwork and home duties, she wanted to mentally prepare herself for college.

While there are many companies that now sell a gap year “experience” with travel or volunteer work, Yui spent her time off volunteering and going to museums and art galleries. But she also researched her intended major. And because of this extra time, she decided to switch from English to Math – a subject she is passionate about. 

The gap year “worked out for me,” said Yui. “I recommend it to people who want to earn a bit before going to college or are unsure of what they are going to do there even if they did get accepted.” For Yui, it also helped her save time and money because she was able to decide on a major in her first year instead of being indecisive and switching majors later. 

Now that she is studying at St. John’s University, Yui says the transition from high school to university can be shocking. Being in the larger world, you are exposed and can interact with people who come from different perspectives and backgrounds. While it can be fun, you also could lose yourself, Yui said. It’s important to have a strong sense of self, she added.

“I just want to let everyone know that it’s completely fine to feel like you’re not ready for college and taking a gap year is completely fine,” Yui said. “There’s nothing wrong with it,” she added.