I can see many reasons for this. The first comes from the infamous video “Gap Yah.” Everyone has seen it. My grandmother has seen it. If you haven’t seen it, then you can find it here. In addition to being very funny and easily quotable, it does highlight a significant reason for the decline of the Gap Year. The Gap Year is now commonly known as the Gap Yah, and with this new branding comes an unshakeable social stigma. The stereotype of a Gap Yah student is one who lives in Fulham, has friends called Tarquin and undoubtedly attended the Feathers Ball or Capital VIP at some point in his/her youth. This character also expects full sponsorship from their parents in order to travel through the heart of India. This is not a stereotype many would wear happily.
So maybe this is why my peers are choosing not to do it. Because they feel embarrassed by the indulgence of the whole thing. I think this has a lot to do with it, but mainly I blame four terrible little letters that constantly circle my mind like vultures waiting for a kill: UCAS. A UCAS admissions form now requires total justification about the reasoning for a Gap Year. And, as far as UCAS is concerned, if your ideal Gap Year doesn’t consist of taking part in numerous ethical duties or doing something that is directly linked to the subject you wish to read at University, your claim has no leg to stand on. So my UCAS-friendly option is cleaning the scum off the back of a whale with my toothbrush, whilst reading Ancient Greek.
So I, like many savvy and forward thinking University applicants, am opting to dive straight into the pool of Higher Education in the hope that this tide will wash me onto the shore of opportunity. The end of the Gap Year is nigh.