Gap-Year: You Can’t Afford Not To…

In my  attempt to become the living personification of Instagram, I’m going to share a cliché: I don’t believe in regret. Don’t get me wrong, there are decisions that I think would’ve made my life easier. But for the most part, I’m happy with who I am. I know that’s a small minority of people who enjoy that peace, and I’m eternally grateful for it, so don’t think me un-gracious or despondent with life.

Having said that, I have one regret about medical school- I should’ve taken a Gap Year, or two. Today, I want to tell you why.

When I was an undergrad, and before I got accepted to medical school, I thought of a gap year as a consolation prize, a participation trophy. You tried, but just missed the mark, better luck next time sport. I furrowed and bit my tongue when I heard of friends talking about “taking some time off” before applying to medical school, or even after being accepted (deferring as it were). Either a, lying to themselves and they were never going to become physicians-secretly giving up, or b, didn’t value the gift that they had received.

I was wrong. They were the smart ones-they saw something I didn’t. I should’ve listened.

Taking a Gap Year before medical school is arguably the best decision anyone can make after graduation day. Because you’re not ready. I wasn’t ready. Intellectually, sure, you can handle the work, but emotionally, relationally, experientially, identity-wise, and financially you are not ready for the challenge and burden of medical school.

I want to help you with the cost-benefit analysis of taking or not taking a Gap Year, to share with you my experience as best as I can. Hopefully, you’ll learn from my mistakes. I’m not sharing “how to tips” to make the most of your Gap Year. I’m probably not going to go into long diatribes about my own time in medical school. Heck, I’m not even advocating a blanket statement that everyone should take a Gap Year. I just want to help you count the cost of taking a Gap Year, because quite honestly, you can’t afford not to.

This week, I just wanted to introduce where I was coming from. Next time, I hope to share with you a little more specifically about why taking a Gap Year is a great idea, both for your mental and relational health.

Stay tuned for part 2…

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