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Why I'm taking a gap year

The most dangerous risk of all- the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.

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The beginning of my journey

The day I decided to make 2020 my gap year: it was a Saturday and I was between study sessions for my prelim exams. I went to my mom beacause I wanted to express how tired, stressed and frustrated I was.

Before that day I talked alot to my parents about these feelings. The sentence I repeated over and over was ,”I dont want to graduate high school, go to university, get a job, get married and have children and then when I’m 70 realize that I didnt do anything extraordinary with my life”. How could anyone think this when they’re given this amazing gift to live?

I’m usually the positive person in any group. The one that encourages others to look past the problem and see the potential. My positive side is also mixed with my type A personality. While I we were busy with prelims I obviously studied hard. When I got home or woke up I basically sat in my room and studied until the sun went down (sometimes I watched the occasional tv show when I had a break). And often with my study breaks I felt guilty throughout the whole resting time because “I wasn’t busy studying”.

No one was pushing me to do this, I am fortunate to have parents that give us freedom to decide almost everything for ourselves. So if I don’t want to study for a test its my choice, if i want to have a distinction its also my choice.

So back to the day i decided to take a gap year. I went to my mom and told her jokingly that I would love to take a gap year. And that I don’t know how I will be able to go back to studying again after a short matric vacation. Even though I was that person a couple of months previous to this that couldn’t understand why anyone would waste their time on taking a gap year. She said something along the lines of ,” so doen dit dan”.

Its safe to say that I burned myself out. I felt like all you have to do your whole life is work. High school, university then your job. I realize now how this was out of the ordinary for me to think like this, I also realize how worn out I was.

In that moment (as cliche as it sounds) it felt like a weight was lifted of my shoulders. So we began thinking of all our family members around the world that I could go visit. Once we had a list we bagan contacting them.

My dad loved the idea and I’m truly blessed that he can make these visits possible for me. He told me that I should make the most of this year. Because later in my life a year off isn’t going to be this easy. He encouraged me to talk to everyone I met and to try to learn something from each person.

I’m excited for this journey. My first stop is Australia. Because I think I want to become a chartered accountant one day (but I still have a little doubt) I’m going to work as an intern at an accounting company. By doing this I’ll be able to see if this is truly the career I want to have.

I want to end my first blog by saying that this is my way to document my journey for myself and for anyone that wants to follow along. I am so grateful for this opportunity and still can’t believe this is happening. I’m flying to Sydney at the beginning of February 2020.

18 thoughts on “Why I'm taking a gap year”

  1. Hi Jessica,
    I read your blog and it reminded me a lot of when I finished matric in 2015. At the time I still had a lot of doubt as to what I wanted to study at university, and hated the idea of committing another 3 years to studying something I wasn’t completely sure about.
    I decided on a gap year for 2016, promising myself that I would use it to discover what I actually wanted to do with the rest of my life, so that’s exactly what I did.
    I did a dozen short courses on basically anything I could find that interested me, to see if I could picture myself doing it for the rest of my life. I was also blessed with the opportunity to do some traveling that year, and 12 countries later I can honestly say that it was the best decision I have ever made. A year later I decided to study economics and international trade and I have never looked back.
    Traveling has a way of helping you discover what your passion is, (apart from more traveling) especially when you meet people from all walks of life. It gives you the opportunity to get a feel for what it is like in their lives and provides you with more clarity on your own.
    You will not be sorry that you have chosen to do this. The world is big and unknown, but that is the best place to discover who you are.
    All the best for your year of adventure ahead.
    I look forward to the next update!
    God bless

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Im so glad you decided to comment. Your journey sounds like it was really life changing. Your message spoke to me and I want to say thank you for the time to write me this message. I’ve beem searching for some courses that I can do but struggle to find a trustworthy website. From where did you do your courses? Thank you yet again for your time and moving message!

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  2. Exciting!

    I also took a gap year – I was one of the only students in my matric group (2007) to not go to university immediately. I simply just couldn’t make up my mind on what I wanted to study which made me panic.

    I moved to England in January 2008 – 2 weeks after I got my matric results. I was meant to be there and work as a waitress in a hotel for 8 months. I ended up staying for 2 years, gained corporate experience working in reception, sales and local councils etc. And when I returned home I was 20 and had travelled to 21 countries.

    I also met this guy – who is now my husband and I’ve since moved to Australia as he is Australian.

    By the time I came back to South Africa I still didn’t know what to study but I was light years ahead of my peers. I had learnt to manage my own finances (my friends were still receiving sakgeld), I had paid my own rent, and I had worldly exposure that a degree couldn’t give me.

    I ended up working as a travel agent for 2 years in South Africa which I LOVED! And then immigrated to Aus when I was 22.

    I did end up going to university – when I was 25 years old. I studied what I wanted and not because I felt pressured into it. I was meant to take an 8 month gap before going to university, I ended up taking 7 years and it was the best decision I made.

    I was level headed by the time I went to university, I paid for my degree by myself in cash, excelled in all my courses because I was there for me and didn’t waste my time or my parents money with partying.

    I’m now 30, I have been to 30 countries the last of which was Iceland – travelled there in November 2019 🙂

    All the best with your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time in your day to write me this message! This gave me so much clarity and reassurance. Your story is so moving and amazing! I read the message to my mother and we both shared tears because of your story. Thank you so much for your message!

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  3. Jessica, I never would have thought that at 78, I would come accross a real inspirational young person like you. I salute you and I think your wisdom is quite out of the ordinary. I intend following you and and my best wishes and prayers are with you as long as I can. May God be with you every step of the way and may your life be a blessing to others. May you reflect the Glory of Jesus Christ to trust Him with your whole heart. Your granny and I are loving friens for more than 60 years and I know she and your granddad sre also praying for you and all their children and grandchildren. Good luck!

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  4. Wow wow wow, love die REDE van jou gap jaar Jess, jy gaan dit so geniet!! Gaan groot en maak ‘n verskil, die kleinste dingetjies maak die stukke van die groot prentjie bymekaar. Ek het eers op 40 ‘n wille besluit geneem om sommer my eie ding te begin uit desperaadheid omdat ek nie werk in die kaap kon kry na ons vir my man se werk verhuis het, en raai wat ek is meer gelukkig en in my element as my hele werkende lewe wat 23 jaar was. Mag Jesus jou elke treë beskerm, ek gaan jou reg oor die wèreld volg, wys ons die avontuur. H xoxo

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  5. You are so welcome. If you are ever in Brisbane – the better part of Australia 🙂 hit me up.

    I’ll also be travelling to Sydney in September for work if you are still around.

    Adele Dellit on instagram 🙂

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  6. Hi Jessica, best of luck with your gap year. I am finishing my studies this year and fortunately I absolutely love what I do and cannot wait to do that for the rest of my life. Back in 2016 when I was in matric I also had my doubts. I did some vacation work in the direction I planned to pursue and that gave me the certainty to push through with my decision. So go out explore, have fun and learn as much as possible about the career paths you have in mind. If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.

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