Is a gap year a good idea? | Point/Counterpoint


The White House recently announced that Malia Obama, the eldest in the First Family, will be taking a gap year, or a year off between high school and college. Apparently there’s a name for it now. My parents just called it “lazy” back then.

Taking a year off of anything can be tricky. A year off of school means you might not find the motivation to go back. But, not Malia. Afterall, she’s Malia Obama and she’s going to Harvard. She’s not Billy Average going to Foshizzle Junior College to study computer screen cleaning.

So now that we have a term for it and considering this millenial generation, it begs the question: Is a gap year a good idea?

Yes, it is

Quick raise of hands: Who is in the field they went to college for? Really? Not even half? Were you not ready to decide the path to the rest of your life at 18 or 19? GASP.

I’m being sarcastic. A gap year is a good idea. I wish people changed the three words they mentioned to me at graduation from “Go to college” to “Find your passion.” Not everyone is ready right out of the gate for college. It’s certainly more important to find your passion first and then go on a path to college, so a gap year is worthwhile.

No it’s not

Continuity. Flow. Conditioned for success. Many reasons show why there shoiuldn’t be a break between high school and college. The fact that a member of the First Family is taking a gap year is going to set such a horrible trend for a notoriously lazy generation.

Taking a gap year for Malia might work, but for the majority of Americans, it is not a good idea. About 6 percent of people who want to go to Harvard are accepted. That’s a rare breed and so is Malia.

Taking a gap year between high school and college is like taking a yearlong vacation with pay — you may be able to get by, but getting back in that saddle as if you didn’t miss a beat is rare.