The Student Room Group

Should I take a gap year?

So I just turned 19 and don’t know what to with my life I completed a level 2 btec in IT course and got my maths and English too however I’m not sure if IT is for me as I’m not passionate about it also I’m not even sure if I want to go to uni or do an apprenticeship. I was thinking I should take a gap year this year and think about what I want to do while I work full time. Does this sound like a good idea? Or am I wasting time and should I just progress to the level 3 btec?
I think taking the gap year is a wise idea as it'll give you the time to think about what exactly it is that you want to do. Don't rush into anything headlong.
Reply 2
Original post by Throwaway678
So I just turned 19 and don’t know what to with my life I completed a level 2 btec in IT course and got my maths and English too however I’m not sure if IT is for me as I’m not passionate about it also I’m not even sure if I want to go to uni or do an apprenticeship. I was thinking I should take a gap year this year and think about what I want to do while I work full time. Does this sound like a good idea? Or am I wasting time and should I just progress to the level 3 btec?


Take the gap year. Way smarter than committing your life to something you aren't sure about.
Yeah that’s what I was thinking but then another part of me feels guilty for wasting time I’ll be 20 next year and I’ve already wasted 2 years. I’m really not sure what I should do. If I did take this gap year and decided to go back into education next year would colleges take me as a 20 year old?
(edited 1 year ago)
Hey , if u don't mind then can u plz tell me why u had to take the third gap year ? I'm asking because I need to take one for being able to apply to medicine and I'm hesitating
thanks for replying . Were u done with A levels within the 2 year time frame ? People are saying that medical schools disregard students with a gap year after A2 , is this legit ?
Reply 6
Don’t do something you aren’t passionate about it will lead to an unfulfilling job. I did and now at 36 I’m starting all over again doing my A levels with something I’m passionate about this time!
A gap year is a great way to work out what you want to do. Explore your options in the workplace or go travelling - if you can afford it. :-)
I think u should progress to level 3 but that’s if your still willing to go to university if not u should just do apprenticeship
Original post by Throwaway678
So I just turned 19 and don’t know what to with my life I completed a level 2 btec in IT course and got my maths and English too however I’m not sure if IT is for me as I’m not passionate about it also I’m not even sure if I want to go to uni or do an apprenticeship. I was thinking I should take a gap year this year and think about what I want to do while I work full time. Does this sound like a good idea? Or am I wasting time and should I just progress to the level 3 btec?


First, what do you mean “gap year”? A gap year is between something. If you have nothing planned after the gap year….it’s not a gap year.

Second, what would you do in this “gap year”? You say work full time but in what? If you don’t have anything go specific planned, why would you want to take it? Seems like a total waste of time to me.

If it’s to think about your future, you can do that at the same time you advance your qualifications. You don’t need to stop education to think about what you might want to do in the future. Also, furthering your current education doesn’t mean you have to do that line of work forever. It just means you’re more qualified in that area.

I think taking a year to do something else is fine if you do something meaningful with it. If you get on a aid programme and go and help communities in developing countries (perhaps even using the skills you have in IT), that’s a meaningful experience.

It would give you valuable experience in work and in life, it would open your horizons and it would also look good on your cv.

Or doing something “to give back” in the UK would also be meaningful (though perhaps less daring, less adventurous and less exciting).

Taking a year out to think about your future, and spending it staying at home while working in a local cafe, would do nothing to open your horizons. THAT would be a total waste of time.

Bottom line: if you’re going to take a year not studying, do something specific that will add to your cv and make you a more interesting and more experienced person. Going abroad could even land you fluency in another language if you study hard and integrate into that culture.

But if you’re not going to do something specific and meaningful with it, chances are you’re just going to be equally confused in a year - and you’ll also be a year older. Good luck.
Reply 10
Take the gap year...so that you could have enough to to figure out what u really want ...and just try to utilise the 1year effective so that it won't be a wasted time for nothing
Original post by Throwaway678
So I just turned 19 and don’t know what to with my life I completed a level 2 btec in IT course and got my maths and English too however I’m not sure if IT is for me as I’m not passionate about it also I’m not even sure if I want to go to uni or do an apprenticeship. I was thinking I should take a gap year this year and think about what I want to do while I work full time. Does this sound like a good idea? Or am I wasting time and should I just progress to the level 3 btec?


just progress to level 3 btec, sometimes you may not like what you are doing but once you continue to do it, you will slowly start to find it interesting.
I don't see why it would take an entire year to decide what you want to do in the future. Just sit down for like a week and thouroughly reasearch every subject/career path you're interested in and their associated salaries, content, effort to reward ratios, etc. Weigh up all the pros and cons, and come to a decision. Hope this helps.
Reply 13
Original post by Throwaway678
So I just turned 19 and don’t know what to with my life I completed a level 2 btec in IT course and got my maths and English too however I’m not sure if IT is for me as I’m not passionate about it also I’m not even sure if I want to go to uni or do an apprenticeship. I was thinking I should take a gap year this year and think about what I want to do while I work full time. Does this sound like a good idea? Or am I wasting time and should I just progress to the level 3 btec?

100% do the gap year. Having savings will make your life a lot more cushy and working full time doing something as a means to an end sure sets a fire under your ass to figure out what you actually WANT to be doing. I wasted my student finance on a degree I ended up quitting because I never admitted to myself that I had absolutely no passion for the subject I was going into, in fact I viewed "passion" as this pseudo-real thing that only the lucky few can tap into. Definitely not the case. If I could go back I'd ask myself what is it in my life currently that really shines, be it a hobby, some aspect of my minimum wage job I actually enjoy doing or the nagging of something I wanted to pursue but never got around to. Attend to those, in spite of how they may stack up against things classically considered "ambitious" and be humble enough to admit that any hobby/job/situation is an opportunity to be your best.

You've absolutely not wasted the year you got your Btec, maths and English in. Any piece of paper you can get serves as a foundation to build on and provides you with experience, please do not think of yourself as having wasted time. In my eyes, you sound like you have been productive and if you did your best, that is all that anyone could ask of you.

Here's what I wish I knew before starting my degree, it might not all apply to you but may apply to someone who finds this thread in the future:

It is much better to be the smartest person in the room than the dumbest, which is a maxim I wish I used to scale my ambitions. As soon as I started my course I saw that most people there were more driven in the subject than I was, which should have been my first red flag. I ended up with crippling procrastination and absolutely no drive (not just for the course, but also in life) because deep down I couldn't give a rat's ass about the subject itself, I just wanted the degree, prestige and the praise associated with doing something "hard".

Being intelligent enough to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer etc. doesn't mean your inner driving force will not rebel against you working towards that or anything else if, ultimately, it's not meant to be. You wouldn't expect someone with biological athletic predisposition to become a pro athlete if they didn't see value in it, I don't see how academia is any different. You would not be selling yourself short by going into an area you care about which may not automatically equate to congratulations for just bearing through the degree itself. Getting the degree doesn't have to be the peak of your achievements. You can go to uni, get a degree in something that doesn't guarantee anything except that you'll be engaged in what you're doing (and you'll FINISH it) and then see where life takes you from there. The main point I'm trying to make here is study an area that you're actually interested in. If you don't know what that is, go after everything and anything that attracts your interest in the next year to see where you end up, as opposed to, say, getting the IT degree and hoping you develop care for it latently, because "there's jobs in IT" as that was the mistake I made.

I'd like to direct you to Jordan Peterson if you've never listened to his stuff for help on these decisions. Some of the advice I gave here is personal application of what he's said in his lectures. All this being said, I do think getting a degree is a good idea in general. You are best pounding out as much of your academic potential to be accredited enough to the level you might need and having devoted enough time and energy to structured full time study to know what it feels and looks like, if you can manage it. The latter makes you develop academic skills that are like riding a bike, once you have the skills of time management, goal setting and focused attention under your belt, nobody can take them away from you (and these are a lot easier to "fall into" without trying if you really care about what you're studying). They are also THE reason why companies want graduates of any old degree. You will learn to meet deadlines, work consistently and communicate effectively if you study to a level that pushes you just enough, not past your limit and not below the threshold of difficulty that will force you to structure your time (ie if your bachelor's degree is passed by cramming the night before and breezing through the rest of the semester you still have fuel in the tank left to give). Provided these skills are important to you, it's a good idea to milk your brain for what it's worth.

Final note is unis quite like "mature" students and I think with institutions going the way they are, filling quotas for these things is increasingly important to them, for "inclusivity" and what not. I had to resit one of my subjects after I finished school to get into the uni I wanted, thus taking a gap year instead of going somewhere else, and when they gave me my conditional offer it had actually dropped a grade from what I was required at the end of school. Also many unis have subject specific access courses for mature students that may allow you to study in an area you might not get into with school grades alone.

Best of luck!
Original post by Throwaway678
So I just turned 19 and don’t know what to with my life I completed a level 2 btec in IT course and got my maths and English too however I’m not sure if IT is for me as I’m not passionate about it also I’m not even sure if I want to go to uni or do an apprenticeship. I was thinking I should take a gap year this year and think about what I want to do while I work full time. Does this sound like a good idea? Or am I wasting time and should I just progress to the level 3 btec?

Hi, I turn 19 in 2 months myself and I'm currently taking a gap year! I'm finding it really rewarding. If you don't know what your next step is, then I'd personally advise it, but it's up to you, at the end of the day! Good luck! :smile:
You could end up regretting taking a gap year instead of just being done with your studies a year earlier.

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