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  • Writer's pictureAlmeera Eman

Parent Series: A mother’s perspective on choosing to take a Gap Year with Mary Boynton

Updated: May 27, 2022

Every kid is different and so is their journey. Not everyone is meant to pursue post-secondary education right after highschool; a gap year could be the best decision you help your kids make.

Mary Boynton is the mother of twin boys, who both decided to take a gap year in 2019. In this episode, Mary speaks candidly about their decision to take a gap year and the growth she’s seen from both her boys, only half way through their year off.

Her twins are very different from one another, they even went to different highschools and had their own set of accomplishments and struggles throughout.

Seeing these struggles, Mary recognized that her twins might not be ready to pursue a post-secondary education just yet. To their advantage, her husband took a year off after highschool and he had a great experience! Looking back, Mary also felt like she could have benefited from a year off because she didn’t feel like she was emotionally mature enough to handle the responsibilities that came with living on your own and managing school.

They were introduced to the Canadian Gap Year Association at a gap year fair and that’s when it all changed for them. As one of her boys talked to every vendor at the fair, she saw a new passion ignite in him as he learned about the opportunities available. Peeling him away from the fair, she knew a gap year was the right move for them.

After a one-on-one meeting at CANGAP, Mary said they both had smiles from ear to ear. They were introduced to all the opportunities that were available to them and most importantly they felt understood and supported.

By making a plan for their gap year with CANGAP, they created their own story that was unique to them, while their friends posted and shared their experiences from school.

By taking time off school, the twins have the opportunity to recharge their batteries, so when they do go back to school they actually feel ready and confident. They also had the opportunity to work and save money, travel and visit friends at campuses and through friends they learned about schools and programs they didn’t know about before.

Their friends who went to school and their parents have both supported and admired their decision to take a gap year, some even wished they did it themselves!

Within a few months, Mary has seen her twins become more confident, self-assured, responsible, organized and independent.

Here’s the advice Mary has for other parents who have kids debating their next steps after highschool:

  • Reach out to the Canadian Gap Year Association for their invaluable resources

  • Every kid is different and their gap years will be different too

  • Set guardrails as a family on what their gap year should and shouldn’t include (ex: not sitting on a beach or couch, but instead finding way to give back)

  • Conversation is key: constantly have open discussions with your family about their gap year and avoid downloading your ideas onto them

If you need some help to plan your gap year, please reach out for a free 30-minute chat.

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