Back in my day, college wasn't that expensive. If I recall, it was about $650 per quarter, for instate tuition at a public university. I worked on campus and made $10 per hour, so tuition wasn't more of an inconvenience than anything else. I realize that times have changed.
I think a gap year, or two, is a great idea. School is a sheltered existence. Working is great experience. But if I may suggest further, I'd say don't just work for your parents. You probably already know that business. Unless they really need you, then I'd say look at other options, in a field you might be interested in working in.
My first job was at McDonald's. I worked there for a couple of years, and learned a great deal. Then I worked as a secretary in an architect's office. Then I got into the temp pool at the University, and got to work in all kinds of different places on campus. One of my jobs was driving brain surgeons who were in town for a conference from their hotel downtown to the conference on campus. Even I thought that was a bad idea: A 20 year old kid driving a van full of the top brain surgeons in the country! But it sure was interesting.
Here is the thing: Once you get out of school and get tracked into a job, and a family, etc, your freedom and options get very limited. This is one of the few times you get to be really, really free. Unfortunately, most people don't recognize it or take advantage of it at the time.
Don't worry about being "on schedule." Everyone has their own schedule. Take a couple years off. And if possible, go travel!
When I was 19, after my first year of college, I dropped out and went to go teach English in Japan. That was another complete trip.
I tell you these things as a reminder that you are the architect of your own life. You can really do whatever you want to, if you put your mind to it.
If you haven't seen it, watch Steve Job's 2005 Stanford University commencement speech. If you haven't seen it, it is awesome:
Steve starts talking around 7:00.
Best of luck, and welcome to the Daily Paul!
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