Tips for a Transformative Gap Year

“Taking a gap year” entered the conversation around many dining room tables in homes of high school children across the United States during the pandemic. COVID rates have seemingly stabilized but a potentially bad flu season. Cost of tuition has risen exponentially. The entire world economy appears to be transitioning to recession mode. Unemployment rates are increasing again. Gas prices are skyrocketing…again. Yeezy just bought Parler. Suffice it to say, the world is currently a weird place, and it is only going to get weirder. Especially as we approach the quickly approaching decision days, graduating high school seniors are already talking about their plans. Most have declared college as their choice, and we wish them all luck and low debt. Others have chosen a trade or other vocational/professional training program with a career attached. Still others are simply intending to work right after high school or maybe start a business. There are clear and undeniable benefits to volunteering for young people, but we as a society are not demonstrating these values and the importance of developing them with other people…and specifically people from other backgrounds. When presenting students with opportunities for post-secondary success, we can present an option of ‘gap year’ but it needs to be individualized, structured, intentional, and personally meaningful for them.

Financing your gap year

First thing we need to talk about is money. We need to think about where you are going to live, what you are going to eat, and how you are going to get around.

Living Situation

If you are blessed with a family that is willing to hide you away in their basement or attic while you participate in this personal journey of growth and self-discovery, you already know what time it is. Your goal here is to find the most stable and least expensive place for you to store your gear, practice your jiu jitsu, get cleaned up, and sleep at night. Err on the side of expensive if the decision is between a place that is moderately loud versus a place that is quieter. Peace in your living situation is priceless. That said, even if you have parents or others who are willing to house you during this year…if they are toxic at any level for you it is highly recommended that you drop them like a bag of dirt and start looking…



Chicago Education Advocacy Cooperative

We collaborate with racialized and minoritized scholars to share their experiences with education and knowledge of educación.