Students take a year off from the classroom

After high school, some seniors decided to explore non-academic areas for a year

By Kate Rettig

After four years of homework and exams, some students decide to take a breather from school with a gap year.

Senior Sadie McEniry is planning to take a year off and to refresh from homework and school stress.

McEniry plans to move out and surf the local job market before attending college. She hopes to work in the local art scene during her gap year and then major in art history at the University of Kansas. Eventually, she wants to work in a museum or open her own gallery and hopes her gap year can get her started on that path.

“Hopefully, through connections that I’m making and will make in the future, I can achieve this,” McEniry said. “The art world is unfortunately more about connections than education is.”

Some students take a gap year because they don’t feel ready for college yet.

“I don’t think I’m ready financially or within myself to go college yet,” senior Sabina Caldwell said. “I think it’s worth to take time to decide what I want to do.”

Caldwell plans on preparing for college but at a slower pace. With the support of her parents and friends, she is going to continue to work and give more thought about her future career.

“My parents are supportive,” Caldwell said. “I have friends who didn’t go to college right after high school, and it helped them set what happened right after that year”

According to, the median tuition cost at four-year colleges was $11,093 in 2013. With such a hefty price tag, some students like senior Sean Bowen, take a year off to financially prepare.

“I am going to be saving money for college, and the business I want to open,” Bowen said. “I plan to stay here because it’s a better place to live.”

There are drawbacks of taking a gap year off, however. Students who take a year off don’t always go back to school.

“Once they get used to not being in a school setting, it’s hard to get back in the grind of things,” counselor Bob Kircher said. “A part of it is that once you experience your freedom, it’s difficult to rein that back in.”

Taking a gap year is a way for students to have life experiences without school holding them down. They’re able to travel, make money and think about the future.

“I am taking at least one year to work and explore my possibilities for the future,” Caldwell said.