“Gap Yah” vs. the working Gap Year

Gap Years, traditionally a time out between college and university in which students travel to countries such as Thailand, India and Australia. Unfortunately, this tradition has now appeared to have become something of a comedic trend with the phrase “Gap Yah” now being used. Taking this “journey of self-discovery” sees only 10% of students funding the average gap year bill of £3,000 – £4,000 themselves and British parents spending up to an average of £995 million a year helping with their children’s travels. This is now seen as a posh persons’ chance to brag about “helping the poor people” and in the case of the well-known Youtube sensation by fellow student Matt Lacey, “chundering everywhere!”. Lacey also highlights one of the more irritating sides of a “Gap Yah” in that students who follow this tradition remind their fellow learners of their travels every few seconds, relaying all aspects of daily life to “this time on my gap yah”. However, this article is not arguing against taking time out between A’levels and your degree, in fact studies show that Gap year students are more likely to graduate with a first or second honours degree than those who go straight from college.

There are more viable ways to spend your time before uni than either spending all yours or your parents’ money. This is even before you even reach the world of paying rent, bills and university socials/ nights out (in which, trust me, you will “chunder” everywhere!). In defence of the gap year, “Gap Years don’t have to mean round-the-world-trips” with the working gap year becoming far more popular for today’s new students. It allows you to still meet new people, learn new skills (good for the ol’ CV) and what with the current economic climb in tuition fees, also allows you to decide whether a degree is genuinely right for you. If it’s a no, then you’ve started to find your way into the work place. If it’s a yes, then you’ll have earned a fair amount of money to start your new life as a uni student – the choice, either way, is up to you.

  • Kabeal O’Neil

    Sophia, travelling immediately after high school was one of the greatest experiences i have ever had in my entire life. back-packing has way more benefits than working for a year. firstly, you can get a work-visa which means you can work in that country while travelling. why stay at home and work when u can kill two birds with one stone and travel and work at the same time? secondly, travelling abroad broadens your horizon to a world that you may never know existed. by travelling independently you get the opportunity to experience making new friends and new networks but on a global context (7 years down the road and i still keep in touch with some of these friends.) thirdly, it is much easier to experience the joys of travelling before university rather than after. it is much easier to get full-time employment immediately after university rather than travelling for a year after university then applying for work. fourthly, the joys of travelling provide life experience that allows you to mature as a person and will be much more beneficial to your student life than staying at home to work. and while you travel, when you are on an isolated beach somewhere having sex with a random fellow traveller whose name you cant remember, followed by the drinking of ice cold bohemian style beers, you will have plenty of time to contemplate whether or not university is the right fit for you. on my final point, i have to say,one of the benefits of taking a “gap yah” is the right to brag about it for the rest of your life to all those peeps out there who decided to stay home and work because they thought it would be more beneficial to their futures.

    • Riley Winterbourne

      Totally agree with you Kabeal. Obviously a wise wise man.

    • Sophia Madgwick

      Dear Kabel,
      Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate hearing another side. I would however like to reply to some of the points you made:
      1) fantastic that you had a great gap year! I agree that you can have a working visa and certainly ‘kill two birds with one stone’ but what with the array of different prices and the change depending on where you want to work this may not be an option for some. Not all but some – these are the people I am directing this article at; as I am/ was one of them when I finished high school. Also, if you re- read the end of the first paragraph you’ll see that I don’t condone taking a gap year in the first place.
      2) traditionally the gap year is between college and uni. Yet all of what is traditionally mentioned with a gap year can be done after the uni degree no? Surely it’s up to the person when they want to take time off? Either way would be beneficial and this is just a matter of opinion.
      3) (and finally) bragging about your gap year to those who couldn’t go at the time between college and uni as mentioned in my article is unfair as some may not have been as lucky as others. I appreciate that you may not agree but it was simply the stance I took.
      4) (definitely finally) I spent my gap year working for a diamond jewellers in Scotland and a hotel in London and Hampshire – I now have contacts to obtain employment as I leave uni as I am still in contact with them. As I took a different stance I wanted to vocalise it as I felt it was a side of gap years that hadn’t really been mentioned.

      Many thanks for your opinion.

      Sophia x

  • Kabeal O’Neil

    for the record though Sophia. it is a well written article. made me laugh. and i def worked my tits off to pay for that trip.

    • Sophia Madgwick

      Kabeal,
      Well it’s good to hear from one of the 10%! V glad you liked the article.

      Sophia x