The Gap Year As a Critical Thread to Future Success

Jake Horne and The Student Compass is a Gap Year, and College and Career mentor, for Gen-Z students. Faced with a confusing and a disruptive future, Gen-Z students need support and care now, more than any previous generation. Starting by taking a Gap Year would be foundational and integral for optimal college preparation.

The Gap Year is somewhat like an internship, but unlike the job internship, the Gap year is  uniquely an experiential preparation for life.  High School Gen-Z students are still very much adolescent, stuck between being the dependent child and becoming an independent person. They are remarkably unprepared to take on the role of adulthood and have not had the opportunity to develop the cognitive maturity and life skills emotional intelligence so critical for 21st century challenges. The archaic school curriculum called school of today, is fact focussed and not future skills oriented. Gen-Zers need a break to learn about themselves and how the new World works. Taking a year away from school, offers them time to grow and immerse themselves in the skills they will need to adapt to the profound transformations in their near future;  exponential Tech uptake, climate change, and a full range of global threats. 

So what does the Gap Year give them? The Gap Year is like a delta of myriad, complex learning channels that split off of the traditional K-12 siloed main channel as it heads to the ocean of college and life. These new life threads require students to learn how to navigate unexpected the turns and shoals, broaden their view of seeing the unsheltered difficulties of the real World for the first time. Seeing the World in whole new different ways and reckoning with challenges as independent humans, build confidence and a growth mindset, critical for future rapid change. It is the beginning of the essential transformation from a child to adult, from a dependent to a self-directed human. This is  the “rite of Passage” a social practice in all human societies for millennia, but abandoned in the 20th century. It is the “change” from child to adult. 

The Gap Year(s) can go a long way beef up students motivation, curiousity and reduce anxiety and hopelessness about the future. Students can find purpose for their lives. 

This opens up a new growth mindset for these budding leaders;  that cracks open cocooned thinking- the static mindset that re-cycles the failed patterns of the past. And so the Gap Year(s) are an integral transitioning foundation to gift rising young adults to magnify and amplify their intellectual and social growth far beyond that experienced by former generations. And having a chance at directing a healthy future for humans will depend on all Gen-Z students growing as a cohort of thinking, capable individuals all focussed as a social movement on actively managing comprehensive paths to mitigate the worst of the future transformative pulses and spasms in the next 50 years or more.

College is a powerful environment for growth and personal transformation, but only if one is ready and primed to get the absolute most out of the experience. Especially liberal arts schools that can best offer students the exposure and practice in developing solid capability in future skills essential to thrive in an opaque shifting, morphing world. Developing: a growth mindset, discovering self-agency, practicing truth-based critical thinking, expanding one’s world-view and cultural perspectives, honing creative frames of mind, exploring lateral and divergent thinking, and getting good at the persistence and adaptation to the rapid mutations we increasingly encounter in every aspect of life and will into the future; all of these skills should be pre-set before going to college. If students have a chance to practice these skills before college, they will be much more capable of tapping deeply into the unique conversations and transformative thinking that the expansive liberal arts education can offer.

So take a Gap Year and open your mind to new possibilities, dynamic self-discovery and be far more prepared to thrive, lead and contribute to society with a deepened sense of your life’s purpose. It will make your college experience  truly dynamic and profoundly valuable, and provide you with the necessary foundation to your thriving future-self.

About jakehorne8216

Future Planning for Millennial and Z-Generation Students Mentoring High School to College and Transitioning through College to Career Students
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