The Student Room Group

3rd Gap Year or University ?

I am currently 20(21 in summer) and on my second gap year. My plan was to start University in September, I got a place and everything but now as I started planning my next year I realised I might not be ready to jump into a 4 year course. I am also not sure if its even what I want to do in the future. I changed my mind on courses a couple times...
The past two years I've travelled a couple of times around Europe, but my original plan of traveling the world, didn't work out due to Covid.

Now on one side I want to travel, see the world and meet new people, but im scared that I'll feel "old" if I start Uni at 22 next year.
If I start Uni I'm scared i'll feel like I have wasted 4 years of my life, even though I'm interested in the course, but not 100%. But I also want to feel secure and feel like I am doing something with my life...
Just have a lot of Anxiety about anything atm😅

Any advice or opinions from anyone whose been through something similar would be great!
No one is 100% interested on any course. If you keep reapplying then you’re just wasting time and money. People who keep going on gap years often never go to uni, there is a limit on how long your A levels are useful for before unis look for access course graduates instead. How do you even keep affording this?
Reply 2
Original post by KirstinTM
No one is 100% interested on any course. If you keep reapplying then you’re just wasting time and money. People who keep going on gap years often never go to uni, there is a limit on how long your A levels are useful for before unis look for access course graduates instead. How do you even keep affording this?


I don't want to justify myself, but hope this clears things up...
Thats 100% not true...there are many people who love what they are doing. Why else would you go to Uni anyway? To get a job later that you are not 100% interested in either? No thanks.
Taking a Gap year is far from wasting time and money. The experience you get is priceless and right now it seems to me that Uni would be more of a waste of time. Besides, if I defer, my Alevels wont matter... also there are people that start Uni way later and their Alevels are still valid.
Regarding affording... ever heard of working?
Original post by miri23
I don't want to justify myself, but hope this clears things up...
Thats 100% not true...there are many people who love what they are doing. Why else would you go to Uni anyway? To get a job later that you are not 100% interested in either? No thanks.
Taking a Gap year is far from wasting time and money. The experience you get is priceless and right now it seems to me that Uni would be more of a waste of time. Besides, if I defer, my Alevels wont matter... also there are people that start Uni way later and their Alevels are still valid.
Regarding affording... ever heard of working?


Wow okay I was just giving advice like you asked but if you just want to hear people justify another year of travelling then just say that. It’s true that unis do look for relevant work experience or access courses the more time you spend away from education, and the longer people are away the more likely they are to not return. If you’re not sold on any course now who is to say you will ever be? And no one loves every module of their degree so they’re not 100% interested in the course. They’re interested enough to put up with the boring modules. For example I do genetics, so two modules of neuroscience and animal conditioning is not interesting to me, yet I still do my degree with not being 100% happy with it. My friend does geography, hates human geography which is half of the degree but it was the closest degree they could find to being interesting.
Original post by miri23
I don't want to justify myself, but hope this clears things up...
Thats 100% not true...there are many people who love what they are doing. Why else would you go to Uni anyway? To get a job later that you are not 100% interested in either? No thanks.
Taking a Gap year is far from wasting time and money. The experience you get is priceless and right now it seems to me that Uni would be more of a waste of time. Besides, if I defer, my Alevels wont matter... also there are people that start Uni way later and their Alevels are still valid.
Regarding affording... ever heard of working?


@KirstinTM was a little undiplomatic but essentially right. With the exception of those that take repeated gap years to try and gain a place in med school or an equivalent, the vast majority of repeated gap year students let anxiety take hold and never go. Uni isn’t compulsory and there are plenty of other routes into satisfying careers, apprenticeships being one of them. So if you don’t want to go then don’t, you’ll avoid spending a lot of money or getting yourself into debt for nothing. But @KirstinTM was right, even courses that have been a lifetime vocation are rarely 100% satisfying. There will always be modules that interest you less or that don’t live up to expectations,but that is life in general.
I think you need to decide whether you really want to go or not and whether it’s your anxiety that’s getting in the way, or whether you’re really not suited to a uni environment.
Original post by miri23
I don't want to justify myself, but hope this clears things up...
Thats 100% not true...there are many people who love what they are doing. Why else would you go to Uni anyway? To get a job later that you are not 100% interested in either? No thanks.
Taking a Gap year is far from wasting time and money. The experience you get is priceless and right now it seems to me that Uni would be more of a waste of time. Besides, if I defer, my Alevels wont matter... also there are people that start Uni way later and their Alevels are still valid.
Regarding affording... ever heard of working?

This may be something you're expecting to hear, but have you considered apprenticeships instead?

Judging from your posts alone (so this impression could be wrong) you don't seem motivated to go to uni, but you do seem to enjoy the freedom that comes with earning money - you could be getting qualifications whilst being paid. No "wasting years" there. Just a thought!
(edited 2 years ago)
FWIW if the 4 year course is some kind of integrated masters you can usually choose to switch to the bachelors and graduate in 3 years later on. The other direction is often possible too but not as easy, and you may have to do it earlier.

You will not be old at university either way. You'll find plenty of students in their mid 20s or approaching their 30s. (especially if you look to socialise with masters/phd students as well) At 21 I don't think anyone would really notice much.
(edited 2 years ago)
Reply 7
Some unis might ask you to sit an additional test if you took your a levels more than 2 years ago (I think) just to make sure you still remember what you learnt. It’s unideal to have someone who has an A* in maths but can’t even do AS content anymore. And if anything, it’s a bigger headache for you having to relearn some/all of your a levels while doing a degree as it can be the foundational/assumed knowledge you already have.

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