The benefits of uncertainty -‘Gap years’ work for some students, counselor says

By Chris Gregory
Feb. 26, 2015

As a counselor at Morell Regional High School, John Farrell has seen hundreds of kids come into his office looking for help with their undecided futures.
“The majority of 17- and 18-year-olds are undecided in terms of career choices, very few really know exactly what they want to do at 17.”
It takes more maturity and awareness along with the life experiences to really figure out what you want to do and most kids lack that at 18 years old, he said.
But, while some look at uncertainty as a negative, Farrell says going through that phase can help you experience new things and it can be a benefit in the long run.
Unlike most, Farrell sees the benefits in gap years because it gives students the opportunity to get more exposure to the world, learn, volunteer and do the things you couldn’t do in high school, he said.
“Gap years are very good, there’s nothing wrong with a student going out to work or travel.”
When Megan Coady, a former HOT 105.5 radio host, entered the Journalism program at Holland College, she wasn’t sure what her future held, and going into the program, she was uncertain like most others.
“When I came in, I quickly realized that it was not what I wanted to do.”
But she stuck to it and took what she could from it and for her second-year internship, she went to the HOT 105.5 radio station in Charlottetown.
She knew she didn’t want to take on a normal newspaper internship position, so she ventured out into the radio world, something that not many others have done.
“I already knew at this point that I didn’t want to do standard journalism, I didn’t want to be a writer or a reporter.”
From there she got a host position at HOT 105.5 and quickly climbed the radio ladder. Now she’s a host at a hip-hop station in Toronto.
Some students like Coady will want to try different things, they’ll want to travel, work, study, volunteer and more. In some cases they interfere with each other and that’s OK, said Farrell.
“You don’t have to have your life figured out at 18.”