Ten Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know about Gap Year Programs

Deciding whether to take a gap year can be complicated and stressful. Many young adults experience overwhelming pressure from society and often well-meaning friends and family to go right from high school to a college or university, only to immediately begin a traditional career. For an increasing number of individuals who might not feel quite ready for what comes next, a gap year may be a reasonable avenue to try. There is not a one-size-fits-all pathway to success!

At Skyterra Embrace, we know that navigating early adulthood is no easy task. Needing time to reset your mental health and overall wellbeing is reason enough to consider a gap year. With that, it’s important to be prepared to use your time wisely if you choose to tackle this formative time for yourself. A gap year may be the perfect opportunity for many recent graduates and college-goers to develop the skills and mindset to live a happy and healthy life with increased confidence and stability. 

Many recent graduates and college-goers choose to spend parts of their gap years or gap semesters with us at Embrace. If you’re considering a healthy break, our program may be right for you. Here, you’re able to focus on yourself, jump-start change, and step into a more confident you. You have the opportunity to not only improve your health and wellbeing, but to begin a life-long journey of self-discovery. 

Below are ten of the most important aspects of gap year programs. Find out how stepping into who you want to become can be made possible with the right help. 

1. What is a gap year?

A gap year is described as a year or semester typically taken after high school prior to a college education or career, in order to deepen one’s practical, professional and personal awareness. Gap years are intended to provide young adults with breathing room from academics to pursue themselves and consider what kind of future they might want to explore.

2. What does it mean to take a gap year?

Gap years can take on many forms and may involve traveling independently, working as an intern or paid employee, volunteering, or simply taking time for you. It also may involve participation in an organized gap year program like ours at Skyterra Embrace, designed to create new habits, and jump-start a better understanding of what you wish to pursue going forward. No matter what you decide to do with your gap year time, it should serve your and your personal needs.

3. Who takes a gap year?

Young adults choose to take gap years for a wide variety of reasons, and there isn’t only one type of individual who can benefit from taking this time for themselves. A gap year can be beneficial for anyone who is empowered by the opportunity to explore their own interests, develop new skills, and learn more about themselves and all the ways they can use this year or semester to shape their future. Examples of students who may benefit from a gap year include:

  • High-achieving students feeling burnt out and needing a break from in-classroom learning
  • Students who want to build their resume and/or explore career or major opportunities before college
  • Experiential learners who find they learn best by doing and who are looking to acquire real-world experience
  • Students who want to develop greater maturity and build confidence before college.

4. Is taking a gap year a good idea?

For many young adults, taking a gap year cultivates opportunities that may not have been available without the dedicated time taken to explore. A gap year may allow time and energy to be put towards gaining valuable skills and experiences while also providing time to focus on what the student may want to do next. Many use their gap years or semesters to learn more about what they are passionate about overall.

5. What are the disadvantages of a gap year?

Something that could be considered the largest drawback of taking a gap year is the lost earning potential within that frame of time if you are not working toward a degree or making money from a job. To combat this, many people shorten their gap year to a gap semester. A lot of viable self-work can be done in just a few weeks especially if a student is taking part in a specific program. That is why at Skyterra Embrace, we recommend eight weeks allotted to time in the program. We’ve found this is the ideal amount of time to make big changes in a shorter amount of time.

6. Where do I begin in taking a gap year?

Start by reaching out to a friend or family member about how you are feeling. An important part of taking a healthy break is seeking support from people you trust. You are not alone in needing time for yourself. The more you talk with loved ones about your challenges, the easier it will be to receive the communal support you need. Your support system will help celebrate your progress and remind you to treat yourself with kindness.

A therapist or counselor can be a great resource as you work to identify areas that need improvement. Depending on the areas of your life that you determine to need improvement, you may need a creative solution like a therapeutic program. Our gap year program at Skyterra Embrace works with young adult women to help build awareness, resilience, confidence, self-worth, and connection, as well as improve overall wellness of the mind, body and soul. There are many types of programs such as these that aim to help you reach your goals. 

7. How do I make the most of my gap year?

The most important thing to remember when pondering the start of a gap year or semester is to begin with a plan of action in mind. Remind yourself of what you are looking to accomplish, what questions you want answered, and what action items you want to partake in during your time off. Write down everything you feel is important to note, keep it as your plan, and be sure to stick to it to ensure that time doesn’t fly too quickly. 

8. How do I find the right gap year program for me?

In discerning between gap year programs, it’s important to consider your goals and these questions: 

  • Are you looking to become more independent and build skills that will set you apart in your career? What are they?
  • Are you trying to gain confidence in a particular area of interest? What is it?
  • How important is it to you to be immersed in a supportive, nurturing community of like-minded individuals? Who does that entail? 

Depending on where you want to end up, the top gap year program for you may be completely different then the top program for another individual, but keep in mind that the best gap year programs are constantly learning, growing and evolving with their students. 

At Skyterra Embrace, each student’s journey through our program is entirely specific to the individual. We meet you where you are to ensure that your specific goals are addressed and the skills you are looking to build are practiced with you. At Embrace, everyone’s program experience is unique and special, and that flexibility is what makes us the right fit for so many young women.

9. How do I make sure my gap year is a success?

Success ultimately depends on what you are looking to get out of your gap year or semester. Maybe you will seek to learn life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom, such as healthy coping, interpersonal and communication skills. We encourage you to look for effective ways to glean that insight and practice, practice, practice! Create a routine for yourself during your gap year and stick with it. Have discipline in cultivating healthy habits that will stick with you for a lifetime, and do so by organizing your time around the things that you feel are important. Lastly, build confidence by putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Immerse yourself in real-world situations, adventures, and communities to create connections and build overall self-efficacy.

10. What is taking a gap semester at Skyterra Embrace like?

Skyterra Embrace is a therapeutic wellness program that seeks to help young women reset. Our program was created to help many types of young women take a breath, and cultivate change and growth in their lives. We teach students not only how to exchange destructive habits for healthier ones, but also how to sustain their progress after time in the program. Through consistent movement, regular nourishment with whole, nutritious foods, and restorative stress-management through therapy and more, we help our students improve their health, holistically. It is our ultimate goal to help young women learn, grow, and tap into their full potential, whatever that looks like for them. 

For more information on how our program can support your gap year, click here. For more details about our program and everything you need to apply, click here.

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Avery Campbell

Avery Campbell