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Why You Should Take A Break Year After 12th

Nandita, a friend, recently went to Delhi University to enroll in a Philosophy Course. And she randomly asked another aspirant the following:

Nandita: Why did you choose Philosophy?
DU Aspirant: That’s the only subject I am able to clear the cut off for in a ‘good college’.
Nandita: What about your interest in the subject?
DU Aspirant: *blank face*

“The situation is deadly”, Nandita says. The situation is indeed deadly.

The Typical Indian Middle Class Story:

You always have to make decisions in haste. The school gives you one week to decide between Science, Commerce, and Humanities stream (at least mine did) and this is how we usually choose:

Science: “Mujhe na doctor ya Engineer banna hai. Kyun banna hai? Pata nahi, mummy papa kehte hai ki future options khule rahege Science lene se”


Commerce: “Mujhe science nahi pasand. Toh aur koi option hi nahi. Par haan, Commerce with Maths lugi main. Main unn duffer logon jaisi nahi hoon jo Commerce without Maths lete hai”

Humanities: “Naa Science pasand hai na Commerce. Toh socha Humanities lekar score laana at least aasan rahega”

If you made a choice based on rational analysis of what your dreams (not your parents) and future goals are, then congratulations, you’ll make yourself a good self. This post is not for you. This post is for those who have been bribed, threatened and sometimes downright humiliated for the past two years in an effort to make them score high in Boards. “Padhoge nahi toh admission nahi milega”

This post is for those who do not know what they want from life but wish to figure it out.


“You’ve got to find yourself first. Everything else’ll follow.” ― Charles de Lint,

Here’s a tip for you: Don’t get lost in the race of joining colleges

Do you know what you want to do with your life?

I know, this might sound strange but people outside of India, take an admission in college after they’ve figured out their passions. In college they gain the skills required to perform the act, they call their passion, better.

In India, you’re supposed to get a College degree before you get a good job. At least, that’s what your parents tell you.

If you come from an upper middle class family that does not need you to earn money so that the daily needs can be met, there is a way out: Taking a break year to figure out your life.

Note: Taking a break year is different from taking a drop. The latter is a worst-case scenario when you haven’t gotten in a “good” college and hence decide to take a drop year and study for the admissions test next year. Don’t call it a break year. It’s not.


“We improve ourselves by victory over our self. There must be contests, and you must win.” ~Edward Gibbon. Taking a break year is choosing your own contests.

You’ll probably get a lot of resistance from your family and long distance relatives who’ve never bothered to talk to you before. Typical statements:

  1. “Baaki log tujhse aagey nikal jaayege”
  2. “Paise kaha se aayege?”
  3. “Nikhid ho gaya hai, puri zindagi maa baap ke paise udhana chahta hai bas”
  4. “College ke baad jo karna hai kar liyo, abhi admission toh lele”


  1. You know that life isn’t a race that you agreed to. Your parents must stop forcing you to imagine it is one.
  2. This is a tough one. You’ll most probably live on a tight budget for a year. But more on that later.
  3. The third statement is absurd. The very fact that you’re consciously thinking about your future and taking steps to figure out what you want to do, you’re the opposite of being a lazy-bum
  4. The last statement is a vain attempt to delay your journey to enlightenment.

Anyway, if you’re unsure at this stage, don’t go ahead. You probably won’t last a month. Only move forward if you’re sure you won’t end up spending a year of watching movies and playing games on console.

You should probably take a holiday for a week to clear your head, get away from your parents influence for a while, and think about how you want to spend your break year. Do a lot of research and make a list of your interests. if you’re still sure you want to figure out your life NOW, here’s 10 things to do to make full use of your break year: 10 Things To Do After Your Board Exams


 Read Part 2 of our post here: How Taking A Break Year Will Change Your Life

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