After many months of speculation, the Obamas have finally announced that Malia Obama will be attending Harvard University after taking a gap year. (And look, while we say ‘speculation’, it’s really only speculation if you give a shit. We’re only aware of the speculation because it’s being reported as such. Apparently Malia was photographed in a Harvard tee? Whatever.)
The point is: American media is now in a race to first define, and then reason, what a gap year is. Because it turns out that while Australia is so infatuated with the idea of a gap yah that we have entire TV shows about it (heyo, Hamish & Andy), Americans are reassuring one-another that Malia isn’t simply taking “a bit of time off”.
TIME is really leading the pack here, pooling together the data about the growing trend of gap years and mentioning the oft-repeated fact today that Harvard actively encourages its students to take one.
Elite Daily – who surprised no-one by taking the ‘not all who wander are lost’ approach – actually defined what a gap year is:
“Gap years, in which students take some time to travel or work between senior year and college, are a fairly common tradition in Europe. But, the concept hasn’t really caught on in the United States quite yet, as many are likely worried taking a break would put them at a disadvantage.”
They then listed four reasons you should take one “like Malia Obama”, claiming they give you the opportunity to travel (true), look good on your resume (results may vary), help you find yourself (okay), and help you discover what you’re passionate about (Instagram likes and booting in hostel bars across Europe w/o getting kicked out).
The Guardian US? Referred to ‘gap year’ in inverted commas. They were not the only ones. Times Union even followed Elite Daily suit and defined it: “Some colleges endorse a ‘gap year’ in which a student defers enrollment for a year to travel, pursue special projects or activities or work or spend time in other meaningful ways.’
Lol okay America.
And yes, future American college students. That means in the coming years, your likelihood of dealing with this kind of bullshit is through the fkn roof:
Given it is zero stretch of the imagination to say that the percentage of Americans taking gap years will significantly spike, let us just say to all American college students, from years of experience with the gap yah phenomenon, prepare for a million fucking stories that begin with “Well this one time, on my gap year…”
Photo: Getty / Karwai Tang.