With the outbreak of Covid-19, the Indian millennials have got no school, work, or to-do list. That’s what it means when we say a ‘gap year’ or ‘free year’. This is a common practice abroad but not in India. Moreover, in India, if there’s a gap in your academic journey or professional career for an entire year, it affects your prospects of getting good opportunities for some time in the future. If we look at it from a global perspective, how would putting a hold on your academic journey for a year benefit you?
The gap year is voluntary break students take in international academic parlance. It is usually taken while transitioning from one academic stage to the next, breaking the monotony of 14 years of continuous schooling. It is not a presumed idea of a year-long vacation, rather the time is spent in travelling, building up professional readiness, or community service as pupils recalibrate their energies and goals.
This concept has unwittingly got attached to the academic year 2020-21 due to the events of the Covid-19 pandemic. Leading many to call 2020 an impromptu gap year with the coronavirus affecting over 320 million students globally. However, with schools and colleges going virtual, there has been a foundational shift among students as well as parents, in terms of how they treat the academic year.
With countries closing their borders and the absence of in-person learning experience, many international applicants have delayed their admission to the 2021-2022 academic year or beyond. Moreover, around 10.9 lakh Indian students enrolled in foreign universities this year in January. The number is expected to increase this year with students who had deferred their 2020 admissions or were looking forward to relaxing during pandemic-induced restrictions across the globe.
You, as an aspiring student, can take a gap year to pursue a degree abroad, but ensure that you use this time given by the pandemic to upgrade yourself and come back with more knowledge or exposure when everything is back on track.
Taking time to cultivate multiple interests and develop the initiative and maturity to propel one’s learning experience is critical in enhancing the college experience. A gap year meets this purpose. A student who takes a gap year needs to have clarity on their interests.