Is Taking a Therapeutic Gap Year A Good Idea For Young Adults?September 16, 2020
Young adulthood can be a strange time, everything is happening so quickly, but sometimes things are happening quicker than one can process. Everyone works at their own pace, and there is no shame in taking a break when needed; after all, slow and steady win the race. A therapeutic gap year is a good option when one is making a transition or coping with personal problems.
Therapeutic Gap Years Help With Major Transitions
When one is making a major transition, a gap year can help it go smoother.
One of the greatest transitions is entering the first-year in college. For example, in one study following 12 first-year students, “The findings indicate that students were heavily influenced by their encounters during the gap year, leading to strong evidence of self-authorship among the participants, which in turn shaped the way students pursued their goals when they arrived at college.” Perhaps during the gap year, a student discovers their love for a given subject, let’s say environmental science; encounters such as this can help one to identify which goals they would like to pursue. Another example from the same study adds that “The students’ transitions to college during the first year were marked by patterns of . . . engagement with regard to learning, relationships, and decision-making.” By taking a gap year, one can engage with the world, something that does not always take place in a closed-off classroom.
Another transitional period is when one needs time off to plan ahead. For instance, one magazine notes that “A student graduating from college might, for example, have difficulty getting a full-time position in his or her field of study.” Incorporating a gap year in such cases is beneficial as it allows time for circumstances to change so that a student can continue pursuing their plan. But another instance would be when plans fall through; the same magazine gives the following scenario: “‘The bottom line is that maybe you didn’t get into law school or maybe the job in an accounting firm fell through.’” When Plan A doesn’t work out, taking a gap year can be a time where one can find a Plan B.
Overcoming Personal Challenges
A gap year allows one time to work out personal problems that they have been overcoming.
Their problem may concern themselves. For example, one study of seven subjects focuses upon one of them and explains, “He (Nate) realized that he “‘never had to look internally for any type of emotional support,’” and that, over time during his gap year, he knew himself better and “‘didn’t need anyone else’s validation.’” Nate’s self-confidence improved from taking a gap year, and the further development of quality will serve him well in the future.To further exemplify, the study includes what Nate observed about himself; he says that he learned how to shop and cook, but on an emotional level, he says he did not feel the need to hang out with friends to feel happy. Nate developed self-sufficiency during his gap year, and this skill will help him to succeed in school.
Their problem may also concern where they are at in life. For instance, according to one newspaper,
“Not everybody is ready for independence, and some parents and many students, when pressed, worry that they may not be college ready.” If a student is not ready to take the next step, it may be time to stop and assess the situation; by doing so, it may prevent them from falling apart down the road. In addition, the same newspaper says, “A gap year experience that allows them to take baby steps, lets them mature at their own rate, and validates their progress and maturity can be the perfect antidote.” Our experiences make us who we are, but not everyone has gained enough experience to know who they are; taking a gap year may provide extra time for this to occur.
Trails Momentum, a therapeutic program for young adults, is a perfect place to take a therapeutic gap year; the program offers various activities that are worthwhile. If interested, you may contact them at (828) 457-8576