Month: December 2013

Water Boarding Must Be Stopped!

NA/TORTURE

Recently water boarding has become a major topic of discussion among society and the government. Water boarding is a form of torture normally used to abstract valuable information from assets that may pose a possible threat. However, water boarding is too harsh of a method and should be done away with.

Water boarding should be done away with in America especially, mainly because America is not known for brutally torturing others. This form of torture is not always successful in retrieving the right information. At times false information is normally given to stop the pain. The effects of water boarding can lead to many problems such as, extreme pain, lung damage and also brain damage due to lack of oxygen. Overall, water boarding should be outlawed because it gives off a bad reputation for America, its insufficient gathering of information, and extraneous pain caused on the victim (Drubal and Barlow).

Water boarding is a tactic used to cause extreme pain and suffering to a victim by the use of water and any form of cloth used to cover the face of the victim. Some see water boarding as a cruel and unlawful act against human beings. Water boarding made its first appearance as far back as the 14th century (Eric Weiner). Later on, water boarding, before known as water torture, made its way to North America roughly around 1815 as a way to control slaves. Water boarding was used as a punishment for African American slaves. If such a cruel act was used on humans who they treated like animals in slaves was then abolished why wouldn’t the torture tactic be banned as well? Europe actually banned the use of water boarding back in the 1700’s. If other countries including allied forces banned the use of this tactic shouldn’t this tell others like America that there is something wrong with this torture method? Something has to be done, a change must be made for many reasons.

This method of torture should be banned is because it is very unjust. The right of a human being to fight against the pain and agony is taken away by restraint against their will. Once this is done, the water is then applied and gives the victim the sense of being drowned. America is not known for causing extreme harm or pain to someone against their will. If these acts continue the image of America will be destroyed in many ways. America could lose out on a lot even possibly allies under certain circumstances.

A great example could be presented to show the cause and effect of water boarding. Imagine if the American government was to water board possibly someone that turned out to be an ally of an ally and then valuable information is given up that the American didn’t need to know. That one Ally may find this as an act of America being a traitor and this could then lead to further events such as destroying the alliance or possible worse, war. Another way this could affect America in the wrong way is if citizens were to truly know what was going on with these tactics and could cause a rebellion against these acts. One thing American citizens do is express their point of view.

If they don’t like something they will make sure their opinion or the way they feel is heard. If the citizens don’t like the sense of water boarding people and nothing is done, disorder amongst the country could come about and more or less cause a rebellion against the government. Water boarding is not that serious to keep around if it could cause all these possible problems. Also why encourage this act if it is not even full proof and certain to retrieve the correct information wanted. Through a graph representation I was able to show another way how unjust this torture method is.

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The graph above shows is a great example of why water boarding should be banned due to unfair treatment. It is very unjust for Americans to do something to someone else and it be seen as being great and very useful. However once it is done to an American, problems come about and then this tactic is sought out to be awful and unacceptable.

One thing I have learned is that any human will do or say whatever it takes to get them out of a situation they do not want to be in. Example, if someone is being tortured and they want the pain to stop, they will say and do whatever for it to stop tell whomever the need whatever the need to in order to stop the torture. . Recently this same event happened to America. Abu Zubaydah is a Saudi Arabian citizens who has been in American custody for more than ten years thought to be an enemy combatant. After captured Abu Zubaydah was water boarded while he was being interrogated by the United States CIA. It is said that just after only thirty-five seconds of being water boarded he began the release information. Later on the CIA found out that the information given was false and Abu had lied just to stop the torture (History and Debate of Water boarding).

If this method is not foolproof why still do it and cause unnecessary pain to someone. It is said that the most successful way of gathering the information needed is for the interrogator to actually form a bond and build a relationship with whom they are looking to gather information from (Ross Howell). Why is water boarding needed if this tactic is more successful? Getting rid of water boarding could result in a lot less unnecessary pain put upon someone especially if there other ways of retrieving information successfully.

Not only is water boarding unjust and not 100 percent successful in retrieving information but it also poses major health threats to the victim. Water boarding is known to cause extreme pain, lung damage, brain damage from lack of oxygen, and dry drowning (History and Debate of Water boarding). Dry drowning is when a person cannot take in oxygen from air. The dry drowning is the process that leads to lung damage all a result of water boarding. The main effect water boarding has on one’s health is long term brain damage.

Overall water boarding doesn’t have a good side about it. Any points that could possibly be stated supporting water boarding could be argued and disputed. Water boarding has no reason to be present amongst this society. It is very harmful to the health of an individual. Not only is it harmful, but it’s not even accurate. If you are going to put someone through that much pain the information retrieved should be useful or of some help to what is being investigated. It’s pretty simple. This controversial issue has no reason to be argued. We as a nation and as civilization should get rid of water boarding. This unjust act is dangerous in many ways and will cause more problems than it is believed to solve.

work cited
Debate.org “History and Debate of Waterboarding.” Debate.org Web. 5 Nov. 2013 http://www.debate.org/water-boarding/
Waterboarding.org. Drubal and Barlow, Web. 24 Oct 2013.
Weiner, Eric. “Waterboarding: A Tortured History.” NPR. NPR, 3 Nov. 2007. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

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Nuclear Energy or Bust!

 

Nuclear Energy is happy to be doing business for you!

Nuclear Energy is happy to be doing business for you!

Contrary to popular belief, nuclear energy is a smart, safe, and effective energy source and is not to be feared.

Nuclear energy is the safest, most efficient option to provide electricity within the US and abroad; however, the general public’s irrational fear of radiation is preventing its widespread use. A concerted education program should be introduced to inform the public of the facts about nuclear radiation, and only then can humanity gain the full benefit of this abundant and clean energy source.

There is considerable misinformation regarding the health impact of nuclear power, and the consequences of major accidents. Many people shutter at the mention of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima. At the root of this fear is incorrect reporting and the unbounded internet, which contains countless faux scientific articles that falsely claim that thousands to millions of people have been killed or gotten cancer via reactor radiation. The scientific fact is that radiation from Three Mile Island and Fukushima have caused zero deaths, and the overall number of nuclear power related deaths (either acutely or via radiation-induced cancer), is substantially lower than all other power sources. Even renewable energy sources have proved more deadly than nuclear energy, as more people have died (per unit energy created) by installing/maintaining wind and solar power than have died as a result of nuclear power (Worstall).

Nuclear radiation follows the same pattern as many other potential risks that humans face – it is safe in moderation and dangerous in excess. The problem is that the public has no knowledge of where the boundary between moderation and excess lies. The public is essentially unaware that millions of energetic particles (of the same type as those created by nuclear power) enter their body every day, but if you tell them that a nuclear accident might cause a mere thousand of these particles to enter their body they would probably freak out. The daily natural background dose to an average human is about 1 mRem/day (XKCD), which is a very moderate dose, whereas an acute dose of >500 Rem is usually fatal (Meister).

See, nothing to fear. How friendly of you, nuclear energy!

See, nothing to fear. How friendly of you, nuclear energy!

The highest levels of radiation ever absorbed by humans were from atomic bombs, where they were estimated in some cases to be around 1000 rem. At 1000 rems, thousands of cells are killed and the body tissues decompose, causing illness and damage to internal organs (Meister). At doses of 400 rem, the immune system is weakened, often causing other illnesses to take over the body (Meister). Nonetheless, “In everyday life, people are not exposed to radiation in doses high enough to cause [any] type of illness” (Meister).

At relatively high doses (e.g. >100 Rem) scientists have been able to determine a correlation between radiation and cancer, primarily by studying survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Chernobyl accident is the only time that public was exposed enough radiation to expect significant cancer increases (IAEA). These affects, however small compared to other power sources, are indeed tragic; however, the Chernobyl reactors are not representative of any Western reactor ever operated nor any nuclear power plant currently in, or planned for operation; they were unthinkably designed without any hard radiation containment (IAEA).

So, indeed, radiation is harmful in excess, but all evidence supports that it is harmless in moderation. Regardless, there is yet to be any correlation found between cancer and modest dose rates of approximately 10 Rem/yr (XKCD).

Even in the case of the worst reactor accident, Chernobyl, the conclusion of experts at the World Health Organization was that “The mental health impact of Cherbobyl is the largest health problem caused by the accident to date” (WHO). Many survivors thought they were doomed by negative effects of the radiation, and were driven to deep-depression, severe-anxiety, alcoholism and drug use, and in many cases suicide. These mental health effects have caused far more deaths than the radiation. This public fear was largely caused by sensationalist media, as there was more media coverage of the “dangerous radiation” (WHO) than the actual facts.


In case you wanted to know how nuclear power actually works.

Nuclear energy is cheaper than the average energy source, thus it would make sense to utilize it more often. The U.S. could save tens of millions of dollars by increasing nuclear energy, plus, it uses less environmentally damaging resources than, say, crude oil (The Energy Collective). Moreover, there is a significant relationship between nuclear energy produced and its cost effectiveness.

The U.S. currently has over 100 nuclear reactors, which together produce approximately 821 billion kWh, accounting for over 19% of total electrical output in the country (World Nuclear Association). If the U.S. were to incorporate more nuclear energy into the power supply, the cost per Watt produced would drop. Most of the cost of building a nuclear power plant is not physical construction or fuel cost, it is the overly burdensome paperwork and bureaucracy created because of the public’s fear of radiation. A practical approach to licensing, perhaps similar to what other power sources must comply to, could make nuclear power plants much less expensive.

Education is needed for people to recognize that nuclear energy is relatively harmless and inexpensive, and that it can improve the lives of present and future generations across the world. Past nuclear reactor accidents have had significant, but relatively low consequences compared to other power sources, and power plants today are designed to substantially higher safety standards. Furthermore, nuclear energy is the only power source that can provide reliable, around-the-clock, large-scale power without releasing significant greenhouse gases. Humankind should throw away any nonsensical judgments and invest in nuclear energy as it will be needed to sustain the current and future populations of the Earth.

The Chernobyl Forum. (2003-2005) Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-Economic

Impacts. International Atomic Energy Agency. P. 10-18.

http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Booklets/Chernobyl/chernobyl.pdf

“Chernobyl: The True Scale of the Accident.” World Health Organization. 2013 Web. Dec 2 2013.

Meister, K. (Sept. 2005) The Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation. American Council on Science and

Health.

Ropiek, David. “Fear vs. Radiation – The Mismatch.” nytimes. 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/opinion/fear-vs-radiation-the-mismatch.html?_r=0

“Nuclear Power in the USA.” World Nuclear Association. Nov 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-T-Z/USA–Nuclear-Power/

“Radiation Dose Chart” XKCD. http://xkcd.com/radiation/

“Renewables and Downward Cost Trends” The Energy Collective. 20 Sept. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

http://theenergycollective.com/silviomarcacci/276841/analysis-50-reduction-cost-renewable-

energy-2008

Worstall, Tim. “Despite Fukushima Nuclear Power Really Is The Only Way To Beat Climate Change.”

Forbes. 4 Nov 2013. Web. 2 Dec 2013. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2005/pr38/en/

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An Athlete’s Worst Nightmare

Derrick Rose's Torn ACL

Derrick Rose tearing his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in the Chicago Bull’s contest against the Philadelphia 76ers (2012)

The time has passed when an athlete suffering from a torn ACL cannot return to the arena of competition. Thus, I find it essential that every athlete be completely aware of this new and innovative recovery process for a torn ACL. With all of these enhancements in medicine, surgery, and therapy, the rehabilitation in which an athlete endures after surgery has efficiently become more productive.

In the image above, by the John Starks, displayed is Derrick Rose, starting point guard for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA (National Basketball Association). Rose unfortunately tore his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in the Chicago Bulls contest against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday April 28th, 2012 in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. When coming down awkwardly from a jump shot, collapsing to the basketball court while grabbing his knee, Rose only managed to find three words. “My knee hurts”, Rose screamed. Although the Bulls managed to win, it was certain that they had lost their superstar point-guard for the rest of the playoffs. However, through proper surgery, rehab, and therapy, Rose has returned for this year’s 2013 NBA Season. Absolutely remarkable!

Today where many ACL surgeries generally involve the replacement of the torn ligament with a tendon from another part of the knee or leg, many medications are consisted of analgesics. In addition to advancements in medicine and surgery, therapy now effectively targets regaining full range of motion in the knee, which then rebuilds strength in the knee along with stability. As a result, the recovery time of an athlete with a torn ACL is phenomenal compared to that of its past. I’ll be presenting professional athletes such as Adrian Peterson and Derrick Rose and their recovery process after tearing their ACL.  A torn ACL is noticeably the most common athletic injury in sports.

“So, what exactly is a torn ACL?” In your knee reside four major ligaments, dense tissue that connects bones to other bones to form joints. You have two collateral ligaments on the side of your knee, MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) and LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament). The MCL is found on the inside of the knee and your LCL is found on the outside of the knee. Collateral ligaments, as described, control the sideways motion of your knee. Thus shuffling from side to side, would be an exemplary example of your collateral ligaments being primarily utilized.

Then you have your last two of the four ligaments, your cruciate ligaments. Your cruciate ligaments reside within your knee, with your PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament) being found on the back of your knee and ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in the front. Opposite to the function of our collateral ligaments, the cruciate ligaments are responsible for the frontward and backward motions of the knee. As a result, a torn ACL restricts your ability to run in straight line and absorb the impact of landing when you jump. Yet the level of pain that an athlete endures when suffering from a torn ACL is indescribable.

Many high-profile professional athletes have increased the awareness of a torn ACL. A torn ACL is one of the most popular athletic injuries in worldwide-sports today.  All-Pro starting running back for the Minnesota Vikings, Adrian Peterson, once suffered from of a torn ACL. Although, after undergoing surgery and intense rehabilitation, Adrian Peterson also returned the very next season and dominated the competition! Adrian Peterson returned the next season to only come a few yards short of breaking the NFL (National Football League) single-season rushing yards record.

“What sports don’t involve you running or jumping?” Torn ACLs aren’t subject to just one or a few sports, but recognized as a universal injury amongst all sports. It ranges from: baseball, basketball, football, lacrosse, cheerleading, tennis, soccer, volleyball, etc. You can name just about any sport that is physically demanding, and with that sport accompanies a possibility of you tearing your ACL. Often a torn ACL is associated with contact sports, but it’s also present in noncontact sports.  Even though a torn ACL is more prevalent in some sports than others, the fact that it exist in a majority of sports is not a question. All sports potentially contain a component that requires you to either run or jump. For this reason, it’s challenging for anyone to argue that a torn ACL is irrelevant.

With the first repair of a torn ACL taking place in 1917 by Hay Groves, the recovery of an athlete with a torn ACL has come close to “century’s worth of upgrading” than what it used to be. According to the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine, roughly 150,000 ACL injuries occur in the United States every year (Coleman). American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine also states that ACL injuries account for more than a $500 million in U.S. health-care costs each year (Coleman). The amount of publicity a professional athlete receives during the recovery process of a torn ACL exceeds that of any other sports related injury today. Together, I can supportively state that a torn ACL is noticeably the most common athletic injury in sports.  You can ask just about any athlete, and they will tell you, “A torn ACL is an athlete’s worst nightmare”.

Image:

Starks, John. 2012. The Daily Herald via Associated Press. The Denver Post. Web. 24 Oct 2013.

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_20505991/derrick-rose-chicago-bulls-acl-tear

Sources:

Coleman, Erin. “Statistics on ACL Injuries in Athletes.” Livestrong. 21 Oct. 2011. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/548782-statistics-on-acl-injuries-in-athletes/

Geier, David. “ACL Tears.” Dr. David Geier Enterprises, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

http://www.drdavidgeier.com/injuries/acl-tears/

Johnson, Don. The ACL Made Simple. New York: Springer, 2004. Print.

Leggio, Marie. “My Knee Hurts: Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose Knee Injury Torn ACL.” MyKneeHurts. My Knee Hurts. 22 April 2012. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

http://www.mykneehurts.co/uncategorized/my-knee-hurts-chicago-bulls-derrick-rose-knee-injury-torn-acl

OrthoInfo. “Collateral Ligament Injuries.” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2013.

http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00550

Video:

ESPNAmerica. “NFL: Peterson’s road to recovery.” Youtube. 20 May 2012. Web. 1 Dec. 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCxPkvD-Y8

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The Benefits to Marijuana Legalization

Vote to Legaliza Marijuana

Vote to Legalize Marijuana

Legalizing marijuana in the United States will lower government spending, improve the economy, enhance medical practices, and create safer places for children and families to interact, learn, and live. The movement to legalize marijuana in the United States will be beneficial to society in a multitude of ways.

Legalizing marijuana would substantially decrease government spending. There would be a reduction in law enforcement and judiciary resources from the elimination of marijuana incarcerations. The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Massachusetts, by Jeffrey A. Miron, a professor of Economics at the University of Boston stated: “In 2000, arrests pertaining to marijuana possession in Massachusetts resulted in a cost of $40.3 million” (Miron). As of August 2013, the unemployment rate in the United States was 7.3%, making taxpayer dollars more essential than ever. Taxpayer dollars should be utilized to boost the economy and allocate financial resources towards other government jobs. Funding these jobs is far more important than spending taxpayer dollars on marijuana possession arrests.

Since marijuana is illegal, the government cannot monitor or make a profit on the sale of this substance. Adopting marijuana as a recreational substance such as tobacco or alcohol could introduce state or federal taxes on the substance. These taxes could be similar to the state tax for tobacco products in Massachusetts at about 40%. The result of taxing marijuana could create millions, if not billions of dollars in income for the federal government. Larry Breed from Tobacco News and Information stated, “Roughly 414,000 jobs are directly linked to the tobacco industry, another 296,000 jobs derive from allied industries, directly raising over ten billion dollars in federal, state, and local tax dollars annually” (Breed). Marijuana can have this type of effect on the economy. The marijuana industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs and significantly add to the tax revenues in the United States.

Todd Mikuriya’s, Marijuana: Medical Papers, describes the evolution of marijuana. “The prolonged use of marijuana does not lead to the development of physical dependence. Cannabis products have exceedingly low toxicity and produce no disturbances of vegetative functioning. The active constituents of cannabis might be quite useful in the management of many chronic disease conditions” (Mikuriya). Marijuana is a clean drug, with low risk factors. Its serves as a stimulant and a painkiller, and it can be beneficial to patients with terminal illnesses such as cancer. marijuana has been used as medicine for several hundreds of years. It was used in ancient China by emperor Shen-nung to grow hemp for fiber and hemp preparations were used in ancient India as a local remedy for sickness. Legalizing marijuana will enhance the strength of a dispensable, low risk factor medicine in the medical field.

Marijuana is often found in public places like schools and parks where adolescents are more likely to acquire marijuana over other substances such as tobacco and alcohol. Drug protection is an ongoing fight in the United States and because marijuana is so accessible among teenagers, monitored regulation is the only answer to improving awareness. Billiamin A. Alli’s, Marijuana and the Adolescent, explains the reasons for the recreational smoking of marijuana among teenagers: “Students smoking marijuana serves as an expression of freedom from society and its unfair laws” (Alli). Legalizing marijuana would allow the government to regulate the sale and consumption of the substance. Instituting an age requirement similar to tobacco and alcohol products would limit adolescent consumers from acquiring marijuana. This would make marijuana less accessible among teenagers, and would limit its abundance in schools and other public places.

Prohibition of marijuana is not helping anyone. It is costing the government millions of dollars annually, and the costs are continuing to rise with the increasing popularity of this controlled substance. Marijuana can be very useful in the medical field and should be utilized.  The use of marijuana among teenagers has become increasing more difficult to handle. Drug free zones are becoming less safe because of it. The process of legalizing marijuana would help regulate the acquisition of this substance and limit its existence within the adolescent community. Legalization is the answer to these issues in the United States, and should be recognized by the federal government.

Bibliography

Alli, Billiamin A. “Physiological Action.” Marijuana and the Adolescent 1978th ser. 70.9 (n.d.): 677-80. NCBI. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2537146/?page=2>.

Breed, Larry. “STRATEGIES OF THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY.” STRATEGIES OF THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. <http://archive.tobacco.org/resources/history/strategieslb.html>.

Mikuriya, Todd H. Marijuana: Medical Papers, 1839-1972. Oakland, CA: Medi-comp, 1973. Print.

Miron, Jeffrey A. The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Massachusetts. Issue brief. Boston: n.p., 2003. Print.

News, Sky. “Marijuana Has Economic Benefits.” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Oct. 2009. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_QQxWYNecw>.

Rawlings, Rich. “Study Says It’s Easier For Teens To Buy Marijuana Than Beer.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Aug. 2009. Web. 03 Dec. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NfGsUdRpng>.

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Benefits of a Gap Year

Gap%20Year%20%283%29

The advantages of a Gap Year–a visual representation.

A gap year is beneficial for students transitioning from high school to college because it better prepares them to succeed in higher education and beyond.

For students graduating from high school, taking a year off before attending college presents an opportunity to refresh and revive before officially entering into university life. During this time, students discover what is important to them, which will assist to intensify their focus on their educational path of choice. Top universities and many cultures around the world fully recognize the relevance of a gap year, and regard those who have taken them as ‘well structured’ with a good sense of direction and maturity (White 7). Taking a year off forces students to gain confidence and take responsibility for themselves and their future in ways that cannot be learned in a classroom.

Although the concept of a gap year is still quite foreign in the United States, the prominent view shared by many countries around the world is that taking time off is constructive and often in the best interest of the student. According to studies by the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation Research, more than 50 percent of students from Turkey, Denmark and Norway take a year off before attending college (American Gap Association, 2012). In the UK, over 30,000 secondary students apply for a university course but then defer in favor of a gap year, which is not counting those who choose to apply to university during or after their year off (Bridging a Gap, 2012).

These countries have recognized the benefits of a gap year, and so have many top universities. Among supporters, Harvard is and has been a long-time proponent of taking time off before college. In fact it is written in plain sight, to the lucky few who receive their coveted letter of admission, that deferring a year before attending is highly recommended (White 22). Princeton also jumps on the bandwagon, offering up to 10 percent of their incoming freshmen class a fully funded international volunteer experience, calling it a “Precollegiate enrichment year.” (White 22)

People in the field of education feel excited as the concept of a gap year grows in popularity. Many regard it as the beginning of a movement in education that values experiential learning, global awareness, environmentalism, and a concern for others throughout the world (White 2). Christoph Guttentag, Dean of Admissons at Duke University, praises the idea of a gap year, calling it a “terrific idea.” Jennifer Delahunty, Dean at Kenyon College, presses on the newly found “verve and excitement for learning” students have upon returning to school that can be lost after so many years of forced academia. Charles Monahan–a gap year student–elaborates, “During high school I wasn’t dreaming. I didn’t have many projects going on. I was just all about school. When people asked me what I wanted to do for a career someday, I never could answer them” (White 14).

Like Monahan, most teenagers today report having “little confidence in their ability to make an independent decision,” and say they rarely do anything without input from their parents (White 18). Without the tools to develop self-assurance, the last years of high school leave many students feeling lost and overwhelmed. Instead of jumping into college full of insecurities, taking a gap year allows young adults to refresh and recharge before entering back into the school system. High school students have a lot on their plate as they contemplate the idea of college and beyond. Students are integrated in a constant flow of academia, and many question whether a straight shot through school is the best path to take. A member of the academic team at Harvard asserts, “Let us hope that more of [current high school students] will take some sort of time off before burnout becomes the hallmark of their generation” (White 22).

For Kelsey Phinney, taking a gap year helped boost both her energy and maturity level, making a huge difference in terms of her confidence and preparation for college. She adds that her time abroad helps her gain a deeper understanding for the material learned in the classroom setting, and encourages her to widen her lens of the world to consider many different points of view.

Like Phinney, Whitney Roth, a student at the University of Vermont also attributes her confidence in herself to her time spent abroad, saying, “It gave me a sense of who and what I would like to see myself become” adding, “Had I gone to college straight out of high school I would not have known what to do with my newfound freedom” (White 13).

Safe to say, there are plenty of testimonials in support of the positive changes within an individual that a gap year brings. Top universities in the country stand behind and  encourage their scholars to take time off before attending school, and a handful of countries accept gap years as a commonality. Professors and Deans openly admit that students who take a year off not only come back to school with a new sense of love for learning, but are some of the top performers in the classroom setting (White 31). When students have the opportunity to recollect themselves and set aside the stresses of school to discover themselves and the world they live in, it will inevitably make them more successful, educated adults. From all the successes, it should be an obvious cue to any in doubt, that a gap year is in-fact beneficial for students.

Image: TopUniversities

“Benefits of a Volunteering Gap Year” TopUniversities. Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, 28 Feb 2013 Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

Sources:

Research National Centre for Vocational Education, et al. “Bridging The Gap: Who Takes A Gap Year And Why? Longitudinal Surveys Of Australian Youth. Research Report.” National Centre For Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (2012): ERIC. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

White, Kristin. The Complete Guide to a Gap Year: the Best Things to Do Between High School and College. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009. Print.

American Gap Year Association. American Gap Association, 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.

Video:

Thinking Beyond Borders. “Kelsey Phinney—Thinking Beyond Borders.” Online Video Clip. Youtube. Youtube, 3 Nov. 2012. Web. 23 Nov. 2013.

<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2m4OkaPXMM>

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