The Maroon

Seniors Consider Benefits of Taking Gap Year

Lauren Ward, Staff Writer

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Senior year is the time where everyone starts attempting to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their life, and a large part of this decision is whether or not to go to college. There are many reasons to go down the higher learning path, but there are also many down sides.

For some students college has never been a question, for others there has been some doubt. But, for Senior Tessa Barlyn she has always known that college was the right decision for her in order to reach her potential.

“My mom and family have encouraged college forever, also there are a lot of careers and opportunities that if you want to go into you need a degree,” Barlyn said.

With Barlyn knowing she wanted to go to college it still left the decision of where.

“Sophomore year I got an invitation to go to a National Security Diplomacy Policy and Defence Leadership forum in DC, and a lot of the high ranking military and diplomatic officials that were speaking had gone to American University,” Barlyn said. “So, because of that and because I want to go into a political field it made sense to go to American.”

Some people may go into their senior year knowing that college is the right thing, but still face the ultimate decision of where they apply, where they want to go. But, even with that looming choice for many some are lucky to know exactly where they want to end up, just like Senior Madison Cross.

“I’ve known since I was little that I wanted to go to college. I was born in Louisiana, and LSU has been a big part of my whole life. Plus, I have in state tuition and the state will give me money so it was a no brainer to go there,” Cross said.

Even though Cross hasn’t questioned the path to go to college, she does acknowledge the cons that can come with the experience.

“I think a pro and con are both the freedom,” Cross said. “It just includes a lot of motivation to do everything yourself. You are motivated to party, but you are also self motivated to do your work. Plus if you want to go to grad school no one is there to hold your hand and baby you. No one is there to make sure you do your homework, you have to get out of bed and go to class. It’s a lot of self motivation.”

With the complete positivity that she wants to go to college Cross says a gap year was never an option for her future.

“I didn’t want to be super out of practice with school,” Cross said. “I didn’t want to get use to having no responsibilities, then having to make the shift to something super rigorous and hard. Also grad school will look at if you took a gap year, and I’m pretty sure it’s frowned upon most of the time.”

In contrast, some students acknowledging the ups and downs of college and decide taking a break or not attending at all is the best path for them. One reason students choose a gap year is due to wanting to gain experiences before going into another four years of structured environment, and Senior Edie Crenshaw is taking that opportunity.

“Because of the circumstances I’m in right now I just feel like it would be a missed opportunity if I didn’t take one, I just need a break,” Crenshaw said.

Hoping to use her gap year to its fullest potential Crenshaw is going to Australia with her family before continuing to college.

“I’m going to be living in Australia, and I’m going to get a job while I’m there,” Crenshaw said. “I also really want to travel around because I figured I might as well take advantage of my situation. After, I’m going to come back to Texas and I’m going to go to college here.”

With such a big decision Crenshaw was faced with weighing the positives and negatives for taking her ap year.

“With a gap year you have the opportunity to gain a lot of life experience,” Crenshaw said. “Even if you take a gap year and stay in Texas you have the opportunity to get life experience. It can help you if you are not sure what you want to do in college because jumping straight in without knowing what you want to do is kind of a bad idea. But, a bad side of it is that you don’t get to go into college with people that are in your grade, you aren’t really going in with the same people your age. So, you have to think about how you are going to feel about basically being a year behind all of your friends.”

Even though there are possible drawbacks to a gap year Crenshaw still hopes the year will grant her with many life experiences and personal development.

“I really think that after being in a structured environment for so long I’m going to be more independent and self sufficient,” Crenshaw said. “Even though I am going to be living with my parents over there it’s not going to be the same, I’m going to be an actual adult and have a job. I’m just going to become more of my own person, rather than someone who has to just repetitively do the same thing.”

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Seniors Consider Benefits of Taking Gap Year