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Gap year during undergrad

  1. Jul 11, 2012 #1

    I've completed one year of undergrad. I started in engineering but have now decided that I want to pursue math. Before continuing, I want to take a year off to refocus and take care of other aspects of my life. I feel like I will do better if I take a year off. On the other hand, I enjoy school and know I will really be interested in what I am learning if I return right away.

    There are many advantages to taking a year off, including that I would be better prepared when I go back and my course sequence would work out more nicely. The only thing I'm wondering about is whether grad schools will look upon taking a year off to work and maybe travel negatively. I will be looking to getting into a very good grad school and potentially going into academia, so it is important to me.

    Any input would be appreciated!

    Thank you :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2012 #2


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    Hey s.l.g and welcome to the forums.

    I recommend doing this if you feel this way.

    You can take the time to sort out your focus and do all the things that you wish you could have done so that you can clear your head and establish where the focus lies.

    This is important not for things like jobs for life itself. Having focus and knowing what that focus is something that will help you in anything you wish to pursue because one of the pitfalls of motivation is that there is no clear and direct goal which causes people to go into a frenzy trying a lot of things and thus leading to undesirable outcomes.

    Just remember that if you do this, try doing some of the things that you need to do so that when the next year comes, you can make a decision that is not only informed, but also one that is going to have some kind of commitment to.

    You may decide it is the right choice, you may decide that something else has come along, but the important thing is doing the things to get to that situation. You may, for example, get a part-time job serving fries or cleaning up crap and that might make you say 'wow i can't imagine doing this for the rest of my life'. You might in another sense, meet some people and find out about engineering or some other endeavor.

    Whatever you do, make sure you do what you can so that you can make a decision that is informed and that is genuinely one that you want to pursue, because if it's not, then you will probably be miserable later down the track.

    It doesn't mean that your choices have to be easy: I recommend the opposite. It just means that the choices you have made are the ones that are easy for you to commit to regardless of what the outcome actually is.
  4. Jul 11, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the encouragement chiro!
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