Alyce+Brown+stands+with+open+arms%2C+embracing+her+acceptance+into+Northwestern+University%2C+as+she+looks+to+a+prosperous+future+in+journalism+beyond+Iowa.

Laura Brown

Alyce Brown stands with open arms, embracing her acceptance into Northwestern University, as she looks to a prosperous future in journalism beyond Iowa.

Oh, the places they’ll go…

February 4, 2021

Taking a step back: Benefits of gap year

It is common for high school graduates to continue their academics at a college or university in pursuit of a career. However, this is not the only path, although it often goes overlooked. 

Despite not being the first option on many students’ minds, gap years can hold many benefits for students; whether they  are unsure about what career to pursue  or simply want to experience things that college cannot give them, they provide alternatives allowing students to explore their own goals and live life outside of the typical college route.

Junior Solomon Kelsch, is planning to take a gap year after graduation. “It’s one more year to make sure I know what I want to do because I’m still not sure yet,” he said. With the simplicity and freedom of a gap year, students aren’t forced to decide right out of high school what the rest of their life will consist of. 

The cost of college can take a large toll on students and force young adults to take on a lot of debt. With an extra year, students have more time to save and prepare themselves to finance the expenses of college. “It’s ultimately just so I have the money to do it [college],” Kelsch added. 

Despite the fact that gap years are not considered by most PV students, it is slowly beginning to be normalized. Its benefits are clear; given an extra year before furthering studies allows students to contemplate their career path and save for their future.

Mrs. Johnson, the career coordinator at PV, encourages gap years that are thoughtfully considered and have good intentions. , “When started with a plan and goals, a gap year can be an effective tool for the future,” she explained. Johnson also highly encourages planning through the year and reevaluating so that future academic goals can benefit from the experiences of the gap year.

Whether students want to break away from the usual academic approach to a career or explore life outside of their bubble, gap years, utilized with proper evaluation, thought out planning and commitment, can easily be a respectable and wise choice. 

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Seeking abundance and diversity: Students break away from Iowa for college

Alyce+Brown+stands+with+open+arms%2C+embracing+her+acceptance+into+Northwestern+University%2C+as+she+looks+to+a+prosperous+future+in+journalism+beyond+Iowa.

Laura Brown

Alyce Brown stands with open arms, embracing her acceptance into Northwestern University, as she looks to a prosperous future in journalism beyond Iowa.

Iowa is home to midwest pleasantries and chilly weather, and although some believe they belong in this provincial swing state, many have broader dreams. 

Corn fields and small town living are not the most appealing attributes to all students when searching for a place to live out their educational endeavors, with many students often moving to new environments like the city to spend their next four years. 

College is known for substantially evolving young adults’ perspectives on life. When searching for the place to fill those shoes, countless students bypass their hometown options. Many universities are seeing significant changes in enrollment and in 2020, 46 of the 240 public universities seeing this decrease saw their in-state enrollment drop by at least 10 percent. 

The decline of students committing to their local institutions raises many questions, including the appeal out-of-state colleges may have. The average cost difference between in-state and out-of-state universities is a whopping $8,990. Although some may draw the line there, many believe in taking chances when given the opportunity. 

Senior Taze Wilson, is planning to attend New York University in New York City, N.Y. next year in hopes of following his ideal career path. “I’m chasing opportunity. I want to go where people are doing big things, writing stories and making music,” he said. “The opportunity to be a part of that just isn’t here. I love Iowa, but I have to see more.” 

For Wilson, college is a beacon of opportunity and the place to find his niche, and going out-of-state seemed like the best pathway to achieve that. 

Senior Alyce Brown is looking at her out-of-state experience differently. She will be attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and is eager for her new life. “The lack of diversity at Pleasant Valley caused me to want to go to school somewhere more diverse, and I am looking forward to life outside of my hometown,” she explained. 

Brown has always been very academically focused, and although she has loved growing up in Iowa, she is overjoyed at the prospect of future abundance. “In terms of success I think people can be successful wherever they are, but for my specific career in journalism, Northwestern provides me the greatest chance at achieving my goals,” she shared.

Alongside desire for diversity, many students, like senior Maddie Hamborg, are looking forward to a different atmosphere. She plans to attend Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. or the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. “I am looking forward to the warmer weather. Also, my college is equidistant to the mountains and the beach. Having the opportunity to travel is one reason I chose my college,” she divulged. 

Whatever it may be for, college outside the state lines is very appealing to many prospective students, and more and more students are choosing to leave their hometowns in search of something new during their college years.

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