When I was in sixth form, I wanted my year at school to be “The Year That Didn’t”… go to university. It obviously didn’t happen and my inner rebel was disappointed. However, I ended up not going myself that year and began an amazing journey with one of my best friends exploring the wonders of colourful Mexico and, well, the redbull of Thailand. It was wild, silly, but most importantly, an experience that taught me there is more to life than my pleasant inner city school and silly boy worries.
As we met various fellow travellers, I began to realise that not everyone takes the same path in life and perhaps the ‘right’ path is actually not so perfect. Everyone seems to think that we should do our A levels, go to university, get a job and build a career. However, my gap year opened my eyes to other options. Some people were travelling post-divorce, others post university, others having lost their jobs and some had always travelled and never even contemplated a 9 to 5. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, but as I embark on my own voyage post graduation, whether that be back to London from Exeter or across the world to the middle east, I cannot help but get a thrill from the freedom that ensues and the importance of having fun. Why waste my time on a job in teaching that I will probably get bored of in five years time? Why get lost in a successful career in publishing that will end up in me working long hours in a stuffy office, for not very much money? Instead, I want to live life to the full and enjoy myself for a while!
I hate to sound like a gap year tragedy (i.e someone who wears an anklet three years after they’ve arrived home) but I really would urge everyone to take a year out… or three. At the moment, we are all being forced to panic about spending cuts, crime rates and the future. For those of us who have a family who depend on us then perhaps it’s not the best time to up and leave. But for us students, I think we’ve been given a great opportunity to start something positive elsewhere and perhaps we should start thinking about clawing our way through the economy at a later date?
So, with two of my friends globetrotting post graduation and another two of my friends spending their third year of university abroad, I’ve started to think about getting out of London myself. I’m also hoping for there to be an influx in bronzed backpackers to join me with the forthcoming rise in tuition fees.
Put one finger up to the system, save some money and bugger off to India for the year where you can really decide whether a degree is worth £9000 or not, away from the pressures of society. Sound good to you?
… Right, I’ll dig out my back pack and join you.