Caitlin Bauer shares why a GAP year is important for young students today

Students will soon be graduating from high school and at a much younger age. With grade 13 now obsolete, the average age for graduation is 17. At this age, a decision for a future career path can be hindered by immaturity and a lack of direction and preparation for university or college. In 2017, Statistic Canada numbers indicate that there were 1.7 million students enrolled at Canadian universities and colleges with a drop-out rate at 83% after the first year.

According to The Conference Board of Canada, more university graduates are seeking a college diploma after obtaining their degree. Students realize that their university degree didn’t bring about the results they were hoping for. Recent research suggests the field of study may be more important than the type of academic institution attended.

This is why we approached Caitlin Bauer to ask why her GAP year was so important and how it helped to make her career decision and keep it on track.

Caitlin told us – “My gap year was taken right after I graduated high school. I worked full time my whole year off – camp Counsellor and barista during the summer. Then I moved to England in November to May. I worked as a bartender for 5 months in Ascot, travelling around my home country for the first time on my days off. I saw places like Windsor castle, Buckingham palace, the London eye, and tons of other things. It was a meaningful and much needed trip because I met my extended family for my first time over there. After working at the pub for 5 months, I spent most of my earnings on a group trip around Europe. I travelled with Contiki and saw 11 countries over the course of 25 days. I went to France, Spain, Italy, Vatican, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Belgium, etc. (Almost like a “U” around Europe).

I definitely recommend this trip because I have become so much more focused in school and I’ve grown as a person. I’m a lot more independent and thankful for what I have. It was really hard to be away from my family for 6 months considering I’m a very family orientated person. Thankfully, with the new family I met, I didn’t feel alone (I lived 4 hours away from my extended family from where I worked). I visited my extended family on holidays and at the beginning and end of my trip.

If I didn’t decide to take a gap year, I probably would not be in the program I am in today. I was able to go to Carleton for Criminology but was not 100% sure about it. After taking that extra year to really think about what I wanted to do, I’m thriving in my Social Service Worker program at Algonquin college. I highly recommend this for anyone who tends to fill their schedule up and to just take a break. I was so involved in high school that this trip has taught me to chill and go with the flow. It’s nice to catch your breath after being in school and doing something you love to do. I was also able to catch up on drawings and paintings that I wanted to do, read more books, and meet new people.”

It is important to make the right choice prior to enrolling in university or college – especially if you discover it may not be a right fit or provide career opportunities after a year or two of attendance.

With Caitlin relating her GAP year events, we hope this will assist in making the decision that is best for you.




1 thought on “Caitlin Bauer shares why a GAP year is important for young students today”

  1. Students interested in travelling to other countries for a gap year and working while they’re there to help cover expenses should check out the Student Work Abroad Program (SWAP) that’s run by the Canadian Federation of Students – for more info.
    They help you get visas that allow you to work overseas and connect you with organizations in the other countries that help you find a job and, in some cases, a place to live. The local organization is also available if you run into any problems when you’re there. Different countries have different rules for the program including how long you can stay there – some are up to two years.
    It beats arriving in a country and finding out that you needed to apply for a work visa six months before you get there or that foreigners are restricted to certain jobs or can only work for a short period of time. Even if you have family in the country you’re going to, they may not know the ins and outs of immigration regulations and the requirements for work permits. In several countries, messing with immigration laws can get you deported or worse.

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