Great Gap Year Myth #5: “My High School Does Not Support it.”


Meet Madison Burke, Class of 2014, as she shares her perspective on Great Gap Year Myth #5:  “My High School Does Not Support it.”

Maybe you’re reading thinking “I shouldn’t take a gap year because my high school told me not to.” Well then! It’s myth busting time again which means we should probably start with some hard truth.

My high school DIDN’T support my choice to take a gap year.

Not only did they verbally tell me they thought I was making a mistake, on senior night for my slideshow page they put pictures of the school from which I deferred. Funny thing is, during gap year I changed my mind and went to a completely different school than the one they broadcasted for everyone to see my “accomplishments.”

Did I have days when I second guessed my choice to take a gap year?  Absolutely! But I kept coming back to fact that the Lord so clearly laid this path out for me.

The good news that still rings true is that God calls us to have gospel center courage to “Be strong and courageous” (Joshua 1:9).  So I stood strong in my decision even though I did not understand why the counselor told certain kids it was OK to not go to college, but told me I was making a mistake. I didn’t understand why the english teacher walked away when I asked her to display the KIVU GAP YEAR logo instead of UT Arlington under my name.

Blair has already busted the myth that was my high school’s main argument, “You won’t return to college.”

At this point you’re probably wondering if any good came out of this. Of course!

Many students who rolled their eyes at my decision were the ones who commented on pictures, responded to blog posts, and messaged me during gap year (still even now) asking how I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I constantly hear “I wish I would have done that” truthfully explaining they only went straight into college because it was the norm, or because of the pressure from society – not because they were prepared.

After the first semester of gap year, I returned home for Christmas to find many of my classmates moving home, transferring schools, and taking a semester off because they were burnt out or didn’t really have a direction they wanted to pursue anymore. I remember thinking, “Where would I be if I bought into this lie that I couldn’t take a gap year because my high school told me not too.  Would I be moving home? Would I transfer schools? Would I have friends?”

The first message I received during my gap year was from my counselor. It was an apology.  The second was from the english teacher I previously mentioned. Both of them were encouraging me.  Both were saying they were proud of me for sticking to my decision.

See the thing is, I wanted to be mad at my high school for putting my decision down and making me wonder if I should try the college thing out first even though I didn’t feel ready.

Instead, their messages made me realize that they just didn’t understand what I was choosing to do at the time. Their entire career is to build up and educate the next generation and to see them become successful. Educators spend far more hours shaping our lives than we will ever know, and they take their students success or failure personally. They were blinded to the success that taking a gap year can bring.

Choosing to take a gap year does not make you a failure. Choosing to take a gap year will not ruin your high school’s reputation. Choosing to take a gap year will prepare you for college far better than any classroom will.

Choosing to take a gap year– against what my high school said–was and still is the greatest decision I ever made.

Contact Information:

Facebook: Madison Abby Burke

Instagram: Madiburke


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