Friday, 22 October 2010

Gap Years. Essential?

The Gap Year has now become standard, coming of age, practice.

In my day there was really no choice. You either went directly to University, or directly to work; I chose the latter.

These days no self respecting school-leaver would dream of doing either. They're off to India, on to Oz, buy a van, pick some fruit, get arrested, pick more fruit, on to Thailand, phone home for money; and when they realise that 5 years have somehow flitted-by, make one final grasp at freedom by staying in a squat in Paris. Then, and only then, when the centimes have completely run dry (and parents refuse to cough-up any more), will they finally make for home.

All three of my children took time off to travel, and all three returned wiser, more independent, and focused.

Above is Junior Magnon (the last to travel) with his lovely Swedish/Russian girlfriend, Kellogg, photographing themselves somewhere (in their van) in Oz.

I have only one gripe with the Gap Year ethos; it tends to teach children that the only time to contact parents is when you're BROKE.




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12 comments:

  1. I have to agree with you Cor,neither of ours had a gap year,Kate straight to Uni and Micko, well,these days don't have that luxury. he did not know what he wanted to o so he was offered a job at a ski resort and went for a season working and then came home and got a full time job,although he did not want to go to Uni he has always had stable jobs and is doing great.When we were young we went straight from the school gate to the workplace and it never did us harm,we did however have a great choice as if we did not like a job you just left and found another unfortunately the young people today don't have that luxury.Life is different I guess and in Australia the gap year seems to be the in thing with our young ones off to the Uk etc,O'h life is so hard lol wonder what will be happening for the grandkids,very scary!Carole

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  2. Is she really called 'Kellogg', Cro? If so, is that her first or last name?

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  3. I think she has a Russian name. Tatiana maybe? But she calls herself Kelly, so youngest Magnon named her Kellogg. She will not be inheriting the cornflake billions!

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  4. Funny how lack of money encourages conversation. Gosh, they're beautiful.

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  5. Hmmm....Junior Magnon appear to be exhaling....and do I see something clutched between his fingers?! Not that I'm implying anything. Just sayin'. Gap year sounds like a helluva lot of fun. Should be renamed Luxury (of sorts) Year.

    My spin on it back in the day was to work as many hours as possible (at a paying job!) during the school year, then spend the summer traveling, when travel -- and university -- was a bargain, and jobs were plentiful. It's a different planet these days.

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  6. Exhaling? Quite probably, but Goodness knows what! I try not to think about such things. You're right T, I've always disliked the word 'Gap' myself. 'Fun Year' would be OK.

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  7. If they've worked hard and take a gap (better word 'fun') year I think so what? I think young M's girlfriend is very pretty and love the name Kellog! I wish them all the best.

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  8. they look so relaxed...can I go back to my gap year??

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  9. At least it's not like the kids here who go absolutely crazy on Spring Break. It's not fair for you to have to fund the vacation though. But it is nice!

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  10. You can always say no. Our younger daughter worked wherever she happened to be when broke. (New Zealand in a kiwi factory, quote, "I'm never ever going to eat another kiwi!" ) but got herself round the world for a year and came back a grownup.

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  11. Unfortunately Lady Magnon finds it difficult to say no (not me). SMG, I just regret that such year's off were not really available in my day too. The experience changes kids for the better 'always'.

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