I will just project my mind here and see where it goes. A lot of this will seem childish/immature/ Due to various problems from a multitude of directions in my life; some serious, some idiotic (mid-life crisis at 18?! What the hell was I thinking); I decided to defer my enrollment to Imperial College London last year. I will now be joining the Theoretical Physics course this October. For some reason I felt I did not have enough life experience to go to university but I ended up getting a job in consultancy and have plans to travel for a while before going to uni in five months.
On paper it seems there is not much wrong but I am telling you it is not so. The pain of not learning anything new is a lesser one than others but still one I feel keenly. The knowledge of being behind on the treadmill of life compared to my friends is also worrisome. When I read about my lifelong idols (Feynman, Erdos, Einstein etc.), people I respect greatly, I feel for some reason I can never think on the same plane as them anymore due to missing out on a full year of education. I know how silly that sounds, but the feeling is there nontheless.
Either way, feelings aside, how will this year gap affect me career-wise? If there was an alternate-reality, naïve version of me who went to university straight away, what advantages would they have over me? What will professors think when when/if I apply for a PhD? What percentage of academics have also had a similar break, roughly?
Basically I just want to count my losses and ensure I extract as much juice out of the next 5 years as possible, so I look upon this period as just part of my life rather than an ugly blotch. Thanks for reading.