FOMO made me go back to school

While all my friends went on to post-secondary, I thought I wanted to work during a gap year instead. Then I changed my mind.

Oct 21, 2016

When I was in high school I had a great time…when I was outside of the classroom, that is. It’s not that I was a bad student or anything, I just found it hard to sit in a class and read about Shakespeare and stuff. I couldn’t wait until I graduated and wouldn’t be stuck in a classroom anymore. After grade 12, I was determined to take a year off from school (this is called a gap year) and try working for a year instead.

My gap year plan

I figured I’d take a year off, find a job, make some cash, and then go back to school and take Criminal Justice to become a cop. I was stoked about the idea of a whole year of freedom—no teachers, no homework, no exams. It was gonna be awesome!

I ended up landing a job at a landscaping company that also did snow removal in the winter so I could keep it year round. I figured I was set. I started working over the summer, cashing my pay cheques, and generally feeling like life was pretty good.

But by the time September rolled around most of my friends were heading to post-secondary, while I planned to carry out my gap year. For a very small amount of time I actually felt sorry for my friends, because they had to go sit in classes while I made money. I figured that I definitely had the better deal here—school’s the worst, right?

Feeling sorry for myself

Not exactly. My outlook changed pretty quick when my friends started telling me how awesome post-secondary was and how it was nothing at all like high school! They were all having a blast, taking interesting classes, and meeting new people while I was waking up every morning to go to work.

That’s when I started to feel sorry for myself. I felt left behind, like I was missing out on this great experience that all my friends were having. I thought it would be easy to get up every day and work full time instead of going to school but it turns out it wasn’t.

I mean, sure, I was making more money than all my friends and that was definitely a plus, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing out on something bigger than my sweet pay cheque.

Change of plans

I only made it a few months into my gap year before I changed my mind and decided I wanted to give post-secondary a shot instead. I decided to apply to Mount Royal University, left the landscaping company, and got a job in a restaurant that I could keep part time if I got accepted.

I had big plans of going into the Criminal Justice program, but because I was a bit late to the game admissions were closed for winter semester. I would have to wait. That got me thinking… maybe I should try something else? The majority of my friends were studying business and they seemed to like it so, once I was accepted to MRU for open studies, I enrolled in a few business classes to see if I’d like it too.

Getting it right

At the time, my brother was working as a Learning Clicks Ambassador, so he gave me tons of advice on planning for post-secondary. With his help, I was pretty confident that business was the right path for me. I really thought my plan was solid.

I wish I could say that everything worked out according to plan, but it turns out business just wasn’t my thing. I struggled through my classes because I didn’t find any of the information interesting. After the semester was over I decided that I wasn’t going to continue with business classes because that would’ve made for a very long four years.

The classes I took can still count for credits towards any degree I want to pursue in the future, so they weren’t a total waste of my time. I don’t regret taking them, because they ultimately reassured me that Criminal Justice was the right path for me. Sometimes you gotta figure out what you don’t like in order to really know what you do!


Criminal Justice
Bow Valley College

When I was in high school I couldn’t wait to be finished, but now that I get to choose what I learn school is awesome.

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