Seniors consider gap year instead of college due to the CoronaVirus

Senior Tanner Drew was anxious to receive an announcement from the University of Virginia on its plans for the next school year, as she is contemplating on whether or not to attend next fall.

Drew said, “I don’t think that it’s worth paying tuition if I’m not going to have a good college experience with football games, basketball games, in-person classes, and other activities.”

On the other hand, senior Daphne Chen said, “I actually did not think much about taking a gap year due to the coronavirus because I was just too excited to go to college.”

However, one of Chen’s main concerns is “that I won’t get the full experience both academically and socially.” She is also worried about “the lines for temperature checks and small and spread out groups. I don’t even know what will happen with the dense dorms and public bathrooms.”

“I would take classes at TCC and continue working at Coastal Edge,” if Drew took a gap year next fall.

However, “I’ve already met a lot of people attending UVA and found a roommate, so it would be difficult to defer my acceptance now,” said Drew.

“I’m not sure what I’d do with that year because it’s not like we’re free to travel or go out freely so I didn’t want to waste a year staying home,” said Chen.

Senior Emma Saunders thinks that “taking a gap year was a very appealing way to stay safe during such an uncertain time. I didn’t want to have to constantly worry about my health and other’s health.”

“I’ve already been preparing myself and getting excited to attend college in the fall, so it would be disappointing to have to defer my acceptance for a year because I have been anticipating this moment for so long,” said Drew.

Saunders who will be attending the College of William & Mary in the fall said she “wanted to take a gap year at first because I didn’t like the idea of my first college experience being online, and I wanted the opportunity to work in between years of school.”

“Knowing that I would be able to attend college in the fall is what helped me get through senior year,” said Drew, “so it would be disappointing to have a different experience than I had imagined because on top of adjusting to becoming more independent lifestyle, we are living in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Drew said, “It would be difficult to transition to online classes because with the Emergency Learning Plan, I found it difficult to keep up with my work, so I’m not sure I could keep up with most of my classes being online next year.”

“I have been discussing my options with friends and family in hopes that they will guide me so that I can make a good, informed decision,” said Drew.

“Although this will be a very difficult decision to make, I am making sure that I consider many factors, and I am also making a pros and cons list,” said Drew. “I am hopeful that I will make the best decision for me and my higher education.”

Senior Elizabeth Kline is not considering taking a gap year next year.

“I have decided against taking a gap year because to me I feel like especially given everything that is happening I would lose momentum,” said Kline, who plans on attending Virginia Tech in the fall. “I feel like if I took a gap year it would be so much harder to get back into an academic mindset.”

Chen agrees, saying, “If I took a whole year off of education, I think I’d struggle to come back to the busy schedules and academic life after having no pressure to do anything at home.”

”You’re ultimately just postponing your life for a year,” said senior Olivia Ellis who will be attending University of Georgia in the fall. “Thus making it take an extra year longer to graduate from college, get your degree, and start your career etc.”

Kline is also mindful of the effects that COVID-19 has had on the prospect. “It is also compounded with everything going on in the world right now. Since it will already have been half a year since I was in a regular school environment before I go to college, so I think I wouldn’t know what to do with myself,” said Kline.

Chen is aware that “regarding the situation, it would be challenging to constantly keep the safety precautions because colleges are large and full of people everywhere. I’d have to be more aware of my surroundings so not everything will flow as smoothly.”

Kline said, “Even if my college doesn’t start back up in the fall and instead chooses to have first semester or the year online, I still don’t think I would take a gap year for most of the same reasons as before but also because I think your first year of college is usually a lot of the general education courses that you have to get out of the way before you get to your major classes.”

“I think it likely that I could get a lot of those out of the way online,” continued Kline. “I think it would be harder in the long run to come back from all of this.”

“Having classes online or smaller class sizes definitely limits collaborative thinking which I believe is an important part of learning. Also, college is a great place to make personal connections whether it’s for internships, jobs, or just a network of friends,” said Chen, which makes her concerned that  “especially since it’s our first year, I think the limitations to social networking puts us in a sort of disadvantage coming in.”

“Now that it’s looking like we are going back in the fall I decided that I wanted to be with my class,” said Saunders.

Kline said, “I also think the majority of students would likely not take a gap year and I would not want to take a gap year after this and feel like I was behind my peers because I think that would affect me emotionally and socially.”

Chen said, “Even if I didn’t know how the school year would be like in the fall, I was willing to follow any of the new guidelines if it meant safety. I knew that this might make me miss out on the more social aspects of college (football games, large classes) and it’s unfortunate, but I still have a few more years in college to experience them.”