Why I Took A Gap Year

Before I start, I just want to say that this is a totally different style of post for me, but I ran a poll on Twitter asking people if they’d like to see some more personal posts and they voted yes. If this isn’t your cup of tea don’t worry, I’ll be back to beauty and fashion posts in no time.

A question I get asked a lot is ‘Why did you take a gap year?’. Whether it’s friends, family, teachers – even strangers – they all want to know why I would make this choice. It seems that even in the modern day, it’s unusual for people to go against the educational norms, and unless you have money to go travelling a gap year is perceived as a ‘wasted year’.

I personally suffer from anxiety very easily – I have done since I was young but it’s something that I don’t often talk about – and although I mainly have social anxiety, the pressure of education and exams really took it’s toll on me in the last few years of school. Now I’m not saying that I’m the only one who got stressed out at school, of course this happens to everybody, but the pressure of it all left me hating the lessons that I once enjoyed and counting down the days until I finally left. I actually was one of those people who really enjoyed school, especially Sixth Form, so for this to happen was very unusual for me – however exams gave me awful anxiety and made me lose all confidence in myself and my abilities. During that final year I didn’t even apply to a university, I knew I needed to take one year out of education to relax and refresh myself and my mind. Fortunately my teachers and Head of Sixth Form were supportive of my decision, and I left school with three B’s which I was pretty happy with.

Although the stress of education was one of the main reasons I took a gap year, another huge reason was that I didn’t know what to do with my life. Ever since I was young I had wanted to be an actor, so in my last year of school I went off to two auditions for gap year courses at intense drama schools with the hopes that that would fill my time and lead me to my path. However, those didn’t work out, and I realised that those drama schools weren’t for me anyway – they were teaching very dramatic, over-the-top theatrical acting that I have never been a fan of, as well as doing the stereotypical drama school thing of asking you to act as a lightbulb, or a tree, which I personally have never understood. I have always preferred a more natural approach to acting, like the style seen on-screen, that seems as if you aren’t acting at all – so I knew that unless I could find a school specifically for acting on-screen, this wasn’t the path for me to go down at that point in my life. I strongly believe that if things are supposed to happen they will happen, so if there comes a point that acting does reenter my life in the right way, I will grasp the opportunity with both hands and work incredibly hard to get where I want to be.

After the acting thing, I had no idea what to do. My entire life had been acting, I had no back-up plan, so I was left completely lost. I started my blog on January 10th 2016 – I actually didn’t have either of my auditions until the February that year, so this was before I knew I needed to pick another career choice – but although I posted weekly, I didn’t really get into the whole blogging thing until the end of August. By July, my little blog was growing ever so slightly, but even back then I knew I had a real passion for it, and at that point everything started to fall into place. I’ve loved reading and writing ever since I was a little girl, and English was one of my best subjects, so writing a blog just made perfect sense to me. I am also obsessed with makeup and fashion (as you probably already know!) – I love trying out new makeup looks and although I’m definitely not a pro, I really think my skills are improving! Blogging was the perfect way for me to voice my passions freely, without anybody else telling me what to do. I decided I would use my gap year to focus on improving and growing my blog, and within a couple of months that effort had grown my blog in ways I definitely could not have expected, and I’m so excited to continue to watch it grow in the future.

I initially had planned on going to university after my gap year to study English Literature, but after a moment of clarity and realising my passion for blogging, I knew that a future career in journalism seemed like the ideal fit for me, and I decided I wanted to do a combined degree. I spoke to my mum and we both decided that this was the perfect path for me, and she immediately started looking at universities. I knew I wanted to commute rather than live at university, and I didn’t want to go to a crazy huge university with an intense party scene because that’s really not my thing. We ended up finding the University of Buckingham which seemed like my perfect place. I signed up for an Open Day and on arrival immediately fell in love with it, it’s an independent university so it’s a lot smaller than most which made me love it even more. I applied for an English Literature and Journalism course and received an unconditional offer, so as of September 2017 I will be a Buckingham Uni student, and I’m very excited. I can’t wait to be doing a course I know I’ll love, and after the year break from education I know I’m ready to go back.

I think gap years are definitely given a bad reputation, and without mine I would have ended up in a career that wasn’t right for me, at a university that I absolutely hated. Worst of all, I possibly would have given up on this blog to focus on my studies, missing out on all the amazing experiences and opportunities it has given me. I’m so grateful to my parents for allowing me to have the time off that I needed, it’s enabled me to clear my head and really think about what I want to do; without it I would not be as calm and as happy as I am today.

I don’t know what the future holds for me yet, maybe I’ll go into a career in journalism with this blog as my hobby or perhaps this blog will exceed all of my expectations and suddenly become a full time job. But no matter what happens I know I’m excited to see what comes my way.

A x

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40 Comments

  1. Megan Mccoig March 9, 2017 / 4:28 PM

    It’s so nice to read this. I was going to take a gap year but didn’t, and I was going to take one for the same reasons as you. I suffer with anxiety and didn’t know what I wanted to do. Now I’ve nearly completed my degree I think I’m ready to take one now and focus on me!

  2. Marc Lamberts March 9, 2017 / 4:30 PM

    Wow, such a good read. I’ve not really taken a gap year , but took 4 months out to figure out what I wanted and it really helped me with decisions. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Marc

    • The Auburn Agenda March 9, 2017 / 4:34 PM

      Thank you! I definitely felt like it was worth it to figure out what I wanted to do.

  3. Lydia Willetts March 9, 2017 / 4:33 PM

    This was such a lovely read! I went straight from 6th form to university and moved 3 hours away from home, it was super intense and by the time I’d finished my degree I was SO done with education. I now work for a distance learning college so I’ve never really escaped it haha!
    You’ll have a fab time at uni 😘 Xxx

  4. Sian Harrison March 9, 2017 / 6:46 PM

    I love this!! I struggled with my anxiety so much at school and it’s refreshing to see my anxiety related fear of exams is shared by someone else x

  5. Yossy March 9, 2017 / 8:13 PM

    I’m so glad things worked out for you, I’ve always been a big believer of things happen for a reason! Wishing you all the best in the future x

  6. Robyn March 9, 2017 / 8:15 PM

    This was such a lovely read! My sister took a gap year to save up money and honestly sometimes wish I had done the same! I think gap years are given such a bad reputation- when in reality it’s nobody’s business what others decide to do!

    Robyn // http://www.midnightandlace.co.uk

  7. Rebekah G March 9, 2017 / 8:26 PM

    This was such a reassuring read. I’m in my first year of a two-year course, after which I’ll be off to university (or so everyone keeps pushing me to do), but I really don’t feel like I’m ready. I’m so tempted to do what you have done, and it’s nice to know that a gap year doesn’t have to be as daunting as everyone makes it out to be.

    • The Auburn Agenda March 13, 2017 / 1:48 PM

      If it’s right for you then I’d definitely recommend it!

  8. Zoe Jackson March 9, 2017 / 8:30 PM

    What a lovely post, I toke a year out after school because I really didn’t know what to do, people were constantly on me telling me I was a bum but I wasn’t I was dealing with my own issues but after a year and really looking into what I was good at I decided college was for me and now those people who called me a bum hardly talk to me because I now earn more than they do and I get to work from home. So for me too that year off really helped me 🙂 good luck with your uni you’re going to do awesome 🙂

  9. sami March 9, 2017 / 8:36 PM

    This is such a great and lovely post girl. I decided to go uni but I know a lot of people who took a gap year and are giving themselves time to figure out what they want to do and they’re still their amazing selves. This post is inspirational and amazing! It doesn’t matter if you don’t go uni because you don’t have to! It’s all down to yourself and what you feel is the best for you! love this x

  10. Megan March 9, 2017 / 8:37 PM

    This is post is seriously so amazing. This is something I think a lot of us struggle with, and don’t talk about because of its bad reputation. It defiantly gave me a new prospective on things. Thanks!

  11. Laura Cartwright March 9, 2017 / 8:39 PM

    I took a year out from my studies this year due to a breakdown and I couldn’t relate more. I think there’s so much pressure to decide your future and your career so early on that it makes it not fun anymore, which is sad because at its core education should be fun (especially if you’re paying £9000 for it.)

    I’m so happy that you decided on a combined degree, you’ll never regret persuing something you have a passion for. I finished my second year of Journalism before taking time off but i loved every part of it, it’s such a wonderful area to immerse yourself in.

    People wake up at 50 and change their lives, there will always be time.

    Good luck with everything,
    Laura xo

  12. Kirby Small March 9, 2017 / 11:03 PM

    Ah I can relate to this so much! I took two gap years because I wasn’t sure on what I wanted to do and am so happy I did! I’m now in my second year and really loving it! Well done for getting your place!

    X

  13. Frances Hemmant March 9, 2017 / 11:38 PM

    This is such a good post!! I think gap years are a great idea. I went to University straight from sixth form, and although I was so ready to live independently it turned out that the degree wasn’t for me, as I think I almost rushed into it to get to uni. Funnily enough, I wanted to Musical Theatre and auditioned and got in, but decided it wasn’t for me. There’s part of me that wishes I’d done it as I miss dance especially so much, but deep down I know it wasn’t for me. I think gap years are so important for those who are unsure, it gives you the time to breath and really focus on what you want from life/want to do. It’s been almost 2 years since I left uni and I’m much more clearer now with what I want to do than I was before I went!! It definitely will all work out for you, and I’m sure you will absolutely smash your degree.

    Loads of love,

    Frances xxx

    • The Auburn Agenda March 13, 2017 / 1:46 PM

      That’s exactly what I was worried would happen to me, I’m so glad it’s all worked out for you! Thank you so much xxx

  14. Georgia knight March 10, 2017 / 8:46 AM

    Great read! I also took a year out to help my mental health, it’s perfectly ok to not do what everyone else is doing and just do what is best for you xxx

  15. Georgia knight March 10, 2017 / 8:47 AM

    Great read! I also took a year out to help my mental health, it’s perfectly ok to not do what everyone else is doing and just do what is best for you xxx 🙂

  16. Harriet March 10, 2017 / 9:11 AM

    I went straight into uni but I totally agree that you should take a gap year if you need to. Finding out what you want to do is so important, we don’t want to be waisting all that money on nothing. This post is great for giving people the confidence of taking a gap year if they are unsure!

  17. Sare | ohitssare March 10, 2017 / 9:42 AM

    I had been involved with musical theatre since I was 2 and when it finally came round to applying for university it seriously just wasn’t my thing anymore! I was so unsure of what I wanted to do so I sort of took a gap year, I say sort of because I skipped uni and went back to college to study makeup for the arts! I completely relate to you so much on this and I think a gap year is 100% not a wasted year, congratulations on getting into uni lovely!

    Sare x

  18. Ella March 11, 2017 / 4:35 PM

    I totally understand why you took a gap year, I wish I did too, because I think it would have really benefited me. Life goes so fast, and I need time to slow down and learn how to be myself again. And not just go through the emotions of life. Right now, I am trying to save as much as possible so I can travel the world for a while. it has been my dream ever since I was a little kid and I really just want to follow my dreams and not just do the things that society expects you to do.
    XX

    • The Auburn Agenda March 13, 2017 / 1:44 PM

      I totally agree with everything you’ve said, I really hope it all works out for you. Xx

  19. Tasmin March 11, 2017 / 9:15 PM

    Thanks for sharing this – I love reading personal posts. I truly believe that there shouldn’t be any taboo or shame surrounding taking a gap year. Although I went straight to university from sixth form, I think that 17/18 years old is such a young age to be making such a career-defining decision! I fully support people taking gap years or not pursuing further education at all, you can enrich your life and career is so many ways. Plus, it’s so important to put your health first! Your university of choice sounds lovely so best of luck for September, I’m sure it’ll be amazing now that you’re ready!
    xx
    Tasmin | http://www.grandiosedays.com

    • The Auburn Agenda March 13, 2017 / 1:43 PM

      I totally agree, and I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you lovely, I hope so! Xx

  20. Hannah March 13, 2017 / 7:43 PM

    What a lovely post!
    Gap years definitely shouldn’t have such a stigma attached to it, because they really can help you to think about what you really want to do. For me, it allowed me to work full-time and get some money behind me to do journalism courses and work experience that I’d always wanted to 🙂 bet you’re exciting to start your uni course now!

  21. Claudia March 15, 2017 / 6:38 PM

    I really wish I’d taken a gap year – it seems like it really helped you to clear your head and discover your true passion. I just rushed into a degree because all of a sudden I had to choose a career path and I had no idea what that was! Although I did love Uni and wouldn’t change my experience I do wish I’d had more time to think about what I actually wanted to do with my life.

    Claudia | https://claudemorts.blogspot.co.uk

  22. Shweta May 25, 2017 / 5:21 PM

    loved reading this!

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