For many, there is a natural progression in early life. You finish school, head off to a college or sixth form then, before you know it, you’re 18 and ready to start university. While this may be the path that the majority take, there are certainly other options; one of which is the option to take a year out between college and university studies. For whatever reason, many prospective students may not feel ready to make the jump to university life. They therefore choose to take a year out.

The decision to take this year can be for a number of different reasons. However, I’ve found out from many of the people that I have spoken to at university that there are two main reasons for choosing to take this path. They wish to spend a year travelling, or they wish to spend a year in full-time or part-time work. For myself, it was the latter. 

Change of plan

My year out from studying was more out of necessity than anything else. I had changed my mind about what I wanted for my future and, as a result, decided to apply university the following year. That left me with nearly 11 months to embark on a full-time job. And I must say, I absolutely loved it. The chance to feel like a real adult was exactly what my 18-year-old self wanted. All this with university to look forward to, it was fantastic. 

Another brilliant thing about my year out is that it gave me the ability to earn my own money and embark on some fantastic trips abroad before I started studying again. I felt like I’d arrived at university a far more well rounded individual, with some incredible memories to look back on. All because I had the time to work and earn my own money independently. And for those who choose to travel for a full year, I can’t even imagine some the things they had the opportunity to experience. 

Perfect preparation

Overall, my year away from studies was fantastic and I felt even more prepared to start university once September rolled around. However, the only piece of information I took from this that may dissuade someone from choosing this option would be that, in many ways, going to university after a year out felt like a step back. Returning to studies after a year in work seemed like I was back in the world I had left when I finished college. Despite the fact that I was living alone for the first time, the inability to work and earn money felt very frustrating. Not to mention that I was a full year older than the majority of my fellow freshers starting that year. 

Despite this, I would say that a year away from studies is an overall good decision. Being able to experience work for the first time and subsequently see some of the world as a result is a fantastic opportunity. These are two of the reasons why a year out is so great, and I’m sure there are many more out there. It’s certainly not for everyone, but there is a big place for it, no doubt.