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Mayim Bialik: Why Gap Years are Awesome

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I don’t have teenagers. I have a 6 and a 9-year-old. Sometimes they seem like teenagers, especially when they roll their eyes and cock their hip and screech, “Mo-om!” But they are not teenagers.

If I did have a teenager, now would be the time of year I was panicking, or fretting, or getting theoretically excited about them being accepted (or not) to the college of their choice…which makes this an excellent time to remind you that according to US News and World Report, approximately 1/3 of college freshmen drop out of college and some teenagers need a bit of time to “find themselves” before heading into college.

READ: Is It Too Early to Start Worrying About College?

Think of the decisions you made at 17 and 18. Not all of them were good, right? Taking what’s called a “gap year” is a wonderful alternative. Many colleges recommend a gap year, as a matter of fact. My gap years were spent on the set of “Blossom” finishing my contractual obligation to NBC and Disney. So that was technically a wise decision, but it was kind of made for me. (How I wish the executives at NBC and Disney had suggested I not date the person I dated at 17…Sigh.)

I want to once again encourage you and your teenager to check out TzedekAmerica.org. It’s a national Jewish gap year program based in Los Angeles accepting applicants now for a year of social justice work, domestic and international travel, education, and learning more about what we can offer the world as we head into the college years.

Here’s to a Spring of acceptance, rejection, and good decision-making – hopefully with a social justice flair!

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