Members of Generation Z take a new view of time off after high school or during college
By Kathy Gurchiek
Marion is Featured in the Article:
Marion Taylor is owner and advisor of Taylor the Gap, a gap year consulting service in Boulder, Colo. The majority of her clients, who are 17 to 22 years old, are pivoting to smaller and lesser-known domestic programs as some international programs remain shuttered. One student Taylor worked with served as an online contact tracer in New Mexico during the spring. Others are building trails in national parks, restoring historic buildings and working on global climate issues, she said.
There is a fee to participate in various gap year programs. Additionally, students are often not paid and typically do not receive college credit for participating in the programs. The experience, though, can stand in for those students may have had on campus, such as managing a budget, learning a language or learning how to do laundry, Taylor said. It's also an opportunity to develop soft skills such as initiative, teamwork and leadership. A young adult in a wilderness program, for example, might be tasked with reading a map to lead a group over mountains to a destination and dealing with the outcome.
"Oftentimes, for the first time in their lives, students have to take charge of their own learning as opposed to be a passive learner taking notes in class," Taylor said. "Employers can teach the hard skills, but the soft skills are the employee skills employers really want."