Self-sense: gap year not just a dollar and cents value

Small business owner, nurse and self-described country girl Fee Jennings: her ten year 'gap year' was not only a financial choice but gave her time to work out what she wanted to do with her life.
Small business owner, nurse and self-described country girl Fee Jennings: her ten year 'gap year' was not only a financial choice but gave her time to work out what she wanted to do with her life.

The Country Education Foundation says more people are taking gap years because of the costs of attending tertiary study but some students say although money is a major factor, it's not the sole reason.

Cowra's Fee Jennings knows first hand the cost of university.

Fee is a nursing/midwifery graduate.

She had what she calls a 10 year gap year before she figured out what she really wanted to do and this made university a very different experience for her, she says.

"I had no big plans when I left school so I tried a handful of different jobs before I started nursing," Fee explained

"I worked four days a fortnight at the Cowra hospital then three at the Canberra Hospital, I went to uni six days, so I had one day off a fortnight.

"I bought a unit in Canberra when I went to uni as rent was just as expensive as a mortgage, so I had to work really hard to make it all work," Fee said.

"My uni lifestyle was a lot different to some of the others in my course. I think having to work so hard to achieve it all made me appreciate it more and stay focused and committed."

There is no one answer when it comes to whether or not students benefit from having a gap year before continuing to tertiary education whether it be for financial reasons or to figure out what they like to do, others say.

After 13 years of study some people need to have a break.

Cowra's Shelby Clements is completing her undergraduate degree at Newcastle University as a mature aged student and thinks that, "gap years are definitely important as it allows students to figure out their brains".

Ms Clements says people also need to become more aware of the options available to them; such as bridging courses and scholarships.

"Gap years can be beneficial to students not only to allow them to afford the financial costs but to figure out what they want to do in life."

This story Self-sense: gap year not just a dollar and cents value first appeared on Cowra Guardian.