I think considering a gap year is a smart idea, you meet a lot of folks in your first year of college that helps shape your social circle.
Learning cybersecurity these days reminds me of learning starcraft and dota strategy back in the day – there are tons of great youtubers, streamers, and bloggers that can help you get off the ground. I recommend The Cyber Mentor and NahamSec as people with good entry-level videos.
It’ll be extremely challenging, but start slowly, and anything you gleam from content creators like these will only serve to give you a head-start when you start college. Eventually you might feel up to some beginner-friendly CTF (Capture the Flag) challenges.
To answer your question: yes, I’m a full-time penetration tester and everything I know is also sitting on the internet in a blog post or youtube video.