At first glance, many of you might feel skeptical about encouraging your teens to join a gap year program. And who could blame you!?
We live in a hypercompetitive world that places a premium on performance and results rather than well-being and job satisfaction. In fact, some of us, a gap year after high school might sound more like a drawback for a soon-to-be adult. We’re afraid this move might prove to be nothing more than just 356 days of video games, hangouts, and mindless scrolling through social media.
However, there’s a huge difference between giving your teen a one-year break from school and encouraging him/her to join a gap year program.
Gap year programs are specifically designed to help teenagers and young adults find their path in life. Think of it as a productive break that allows your teen to invest in self-exploration and self-growth.
Here are some reasons why a gap year program can be more beneficial than you think.
A time for self-reflection and self-discovery
The primary goal of gap year programs is to give young adults the opportunity to discover themselves. Through counseling and therapeutic activities, teens can explore their passions, dreams, ideas, and values.
Since these aspects represent the foundation of a satisfying life and fulfilling career, having the opportunity to work side-by-side with a counselor can be empowering for a young adult who’s getting ready to take on life’s responsibilities.
Unveiling new passions
Exploring new passions is something we rarely get a chance to do these days. In fact, even from an early age, we encourage our children to invest heavily in a specific niche. We want them to be as proficient as possible in a given field, so they can successfully deal with ‘the competition.’
But investing in new passions is just as important as sharpening the skills they already have. This allows them to develop creativity and divergent thinking, two abilities that play an essential role in today’s ever-changing world.
Give your young adult the chance to reinvent himself/herself!
Exploring growth opportunities
As we previously mentioned, gap year programs are mainly about helping teens carve their path in life. For that reason, exploring options and scouting for opportunities represents an important aspect of personal and professional growth.
With an emphasis on skill acquisition and application, and experiential approaches to teaching, gap year programs can successfully prepare young adults for a bright future.
Equipped with the right skills, your child can take advantage of exciting opportunities that help him/her cultivate a fulfilling life.
Investing in mental health
As many healthcare professionals suggest, mental health should be a top priority, especially during adolescence. Unfortunately, young adults often struggle with emotional issues that can prevent them from achieving a successful life.
The pressure of adult responsibilities coupled with age-related psychological changes can seriously affect academic progress and life satisfaction. In other words, poor mental health is one of the biggest enemies of self-development and professional success.
Fortunately, many programs include both therapy sessions and career counseling. That way, participants can benefit from both quality mental health services and professional career guidance.
Overall, gap year programs offer a structured and guided approach to personal and professional development. Three hundred and sixty-five days of self-exploration and self-growth might just be the best move for a growing adolescent who’s not quite sure of his/her next step.
To learn more about treatment programs, click here.