5 Reasons Every High School Grad Should Take At Least One Gap Year

by Andy Nguyen

Over and over, Generation-Y has become fixated on success. We live in a society that perpetuates the idea that we should all be successful early on in life. It's the notion that we should make millions of dollars within our late-20s, graduate from college, land a very successful job and get married, ultimately creating that "perfect life."

Don't believe me? Check Instagram, Facebook posts and tweets. They're all filled stories about perfect lives and comments stating that we're supposed to be successful before age 30.

To those lucky few who graduated from college early, landed "real" jobs and started their lives on the right track, I tip my hat to you. Congratulations. I wish I was able to accomplish such a feat.

However, for the few who started college later, I believe starting college late in life has benefits that we often overlook. Many successful people in our time became successful later in life. Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Oprah and many others experienced many failures early in their lives, but they learned from these failures.

Here are five ways starting college later in life can be beneficial:

1. Maturity

When you are fresh out of high school, you are usually still in that younger mindset. The mindset of a young adult usually consists of parties, what to do over the weekend, keeping friends happy and how to look good. All of these things distract students from their studies.

Starting college later in life will allow your mind to catch up to your desires. You're a completely different person at the age of 25 than you are at 18, and it might be a better time for you to pursue a college degree.

2. Appreciation

If you enter the working world right out of high school, you'll understand the value of a dollar. Because advancement in a "real" job usually requires a college degree, you'll understand how valuable a college education can be.

Numerous studies have indicated that individuals who have bachelor's degree earn, on average, $1 million in their lifetimes. When you appreciate something more, you're more willing to work harder for it.

3. Readiness

Because you understand the value of a dollar and the appreciation of how far an education can take you in the long run, this time around, you'll be ready to tackle the college courses. Time after time, I see fellow students who are younger and do not pay attention in class.

They're too busy focusing on their social lives to not focus on the task at hand. By this time, you'll be ready for college, and you'll give it your full attention because it matters to you.

4. Experience

The competition for creating a career has become more and more difficult. With everyone rushing for that bachelor's degree, no one has the experience to back the degree up. Having experience is now the determining factor to landing that job. Continuing a college degree later in life helps you gain the desirable experience many companies are looking for.

You can focus all your time developing your skills to the maximum potential allowed within the company before transitioning into a career path. Also, many companies are now willing to invest in their own employees by offering reimbursements for college courses.

5. Knowing

Many students decide on a major solely on an idea. Those ideas are usually fantasies of a glamorous career and not actually what they want. We hear people say things like, "Chase after your dreams," or "Do what you're passionate about, and the money will follow." But how are we able to decide on what we're passionate about when we're barely getting our feet wet in the real world?

By taking time to work and understand what you're truly passionate about, you can determine what degree is best for you. Being able to dabble in and out of small jobs will help find your true calling.

There is nothing wrong with starting college late or finally getting around to earning your degree later in life. Despite living in a society that drills the idea of success early on in life, starting late in life does have its benefits. Everyone follows a different path in life, but even wrong paths will eventually lead you in the right direction.