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To Gap or not to Gap

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

To gap or not to gap. That's the real question. Or at least it's one of the big questions currently being asked in my year at uni at the moment. Every day at least one person will say the G word and a long discussion will ensure: Should I take a gap year?

In Denmark taking gap-years is very common. Actually, it's more uncommon to NOT have a gap year after finishing College and our version of A-levels. This contributes to our relative "old" uni fresher age, at least compared to UK, but also to make, what I believe, some well rounded uni students who knows what they want when they get here. In my opinion there's many benefits to taking a gap year before uni, even though I didn't actually do it myself. I had already spend 2 years abroad in Lincolnshire and would rather go straight to uni when I was offered a spot on my dream course back in Denmark. This let me to where I am now - in my 3rd year of university. Almost halfway.

But, this blog is not about taking gap years before uni - I'm just trying to illustrate how common it is. No, this is about taking a gap year during university, the big question these days.

The way the Veterinary Medicine course is done in Denmark you do 3 years, where after you call yourself a bachelor of veterinary medicine. Then you do 2.5 years which includes a master and finally after 5.5 years you get to call yourself Doctor of Veterinary medicine.

The case is now though, should I take a gap year in between my bachelor and my masters?

Veterinary medicine is tough. Few on my course will tell you otherwise, which is why a lot of people are now considering taking a break. A yearlong break where you can get experience, travel and maybe even go out and make some money. Sounds pretty great.

Taking a gap year does give you exactly that. You can go travelling a significant bit of the time, for example with Worldwide vets, while getting some experience within your field you won't be getting many other places. At the same time you also get to relax your head a bit, not constantly worry about exams and deadlines. Stress is one of the most common reasons students goes to their GP, so it goes without saying that a lot of people feel like they need a break. And there's nothing wrong with that!

The downsides, in my opinion at least, are quite a few as well though.

You will get out of the rhythm. With that I mean the rhythm of studying, preparing for exams and even the rhythm of having your friends around constantly. This may not be a bad thing for some, but for someone like me who values knowing what's going to happen it's not a massive plus. I also know that I will lose my student accommodation. Accommodation is notoriously hard to get your hands on in Copenhagen, so leaving for a year can really set you back on that front! Lastly, it will be expensive. Yes, I know I said you could work in a gap year, which is very true. But for me, taking a gap year would mean a lot of travel as I don't see the point of just working for most of the time, then I would rather work towards finishing my degree - and travelling is expensive! Unfortunately I haven't won the lottery yet, though I'm working on it. Lastly, it's another year till I'm done. Honestly, I would love to travel for 6 months, but I love my course, and more so, I believe I will love the job. 1 more year till I can call myself a fully qualified vet? I'm just not sure it's worth it.

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Veterinary students volunteering with wildlife zebra in Africa
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