Is a Gap Year something worth discussing with my parent?


I am currently a student at an art university about to go into my Senior Year. Being that it is an art school, it demands a lot of hands-on learning and in-person teaching. However, with the pandemic, my Fall 2020 classes have gone remote (My school is hoping we can continue on-campus courses in the Spring; that is, if there isn’t a second COVID-19 wave–we’re in NYC by the way).

With online learning, the educational experience is significantly reduced, however, students are still expected to pay 60K. For remote learning, no access to campus art equipment/facilities and with many of my Fall 2020 classes being cancelled (Again, due to lack of access to the campus. For example, you can’t take a machine knitting class without the machine!), I’m seriously considering whether or not it would be more beneficial for me to take a gap year.

I have a lot of personal art projects in mind and I also currently have a remote job (paid) and internship (unpaid, unfortunately). I figured that if I were to hypothetically take a gap year, I could utilize the time to become a more realized artist. My dad is also a bit skeptical about the job market in 2021 and I know a concern of his is whether or not I’d even find work after I graduate.

Also, a little side note about my school. The curriculum does not allow for a student to take a semester off. The Fall and Spring semester are consecutive with one another, meaning… If I take my Senior Thesis course in the Fall (Thesis #1), I cannot take classes in the Spring (Thesis #2) without having first taken the pre-requisite course (Thesis #1) which is ONLY offered in the fall. Therefore, it has to be a gap year.

I guess my question now is… based on these circumstances, do you think a Gap Year would be more beneficial for me? (In the end, I would obviously have to make the choice with my parent–but, I am open for outside opinion) What are some other things I should consider if I DO take a Gap Year (cost of living, etc…) that most people don’t realize? How do I begin this discussion with dad? I doubt he is someone who is open to this idea, but this is still something I want to potentially express to him.

Thank you for the feedback! :slight_smile:

Parent here, I tell my son that in my opinion the 2020-2021 school year is shaping up to be the biggest cluster (boomer term here) I have ever witnessed in my entire life. IMHO, best to set it out on the sidelines. Sure your career will start a year later and if you were studying computer science that could amount to real money. I’m very cautious, almost to the point of pessimistic, about the coming school year college experience.

The “college experience” really isn’t as important as the fact that you are getting your degree. This pandemic could last even longer that just this year with the way that out government is handling it, and you wont get a normal college experience even after the pandemic since there will be so many changes even after this is all died down. If you are concerned about money, this would be a great time to load up on courses since they are probably easier than in person classes and possibly graduate early. Don’t waste a year of your life just waiting for this pandemic to end because youre not going to be doing anything productive. Most people take a gap year to find themselves or to travel but you wont be doing much of either while just sitting at home during qurantine.

Given that you have a paying job right now, and that your classes require specialized equipment that you will have no access to in order to complete properly, a gap year could make good sense. It is particularly concerning that many of the classes you would have taken have been preemptively cancelled because of the need to remain off-site.

If you have any student loans, you need to know that taking a gap year will mean that you will use up the time normally allowed after graduation before payments start coming due, and you will need to start paying down those loans during your time off. Yes, the loans will go back into deferment when you re-enroll next fall, but the payments will become due immediately again after graduation.

Many parents fear that their children will never go back to college if they take time off. So work with your parents to develop a clear plan for using this year, and for your return to classes next fall. If your dad is skeptical about the job market next spring (2021) he might feel better if you work now and further develop your job skills and improve your employability for the market in 2022.

There is nothing wrong with sitting this year out and working on your art.

I suggest you start a discussion with your parent. Start by sharing your frustration, and questions you have.

If you can engage in an honest, open conversation, and avoid an abrupt “I am taking a gap year” statement up front, you may get to have a real discussion.

And it may take a number of talks over a few days to get to an agreement on how to move forward.