Taking a gap year is becoming a more common option for students after school or college. There used to be a taboo around it earlier, but the advantages of a gap year have proved to be very beneficial, and in some cases, perhaps even required. One of the biggest reasons why taking a gap year is becoming such a popular alternative is that most employers are currently on the lookout for well-rounded candidates who can provide ‘work-ready’ skills. These skills cannot realistically be developed by studying theory. Rather, it comes from experience and upskilling. Time can only be properly dedicated to this if a student opts for a gap year.
The first decision is always tough, should you take a gap year? It is understandable that realistically some students cannot take a gap year, and there could be many reasons behind it. So, the first step is to think through this decision thoroughly. You may even consider talking to friends or family members if they have taken a gap year, and how it worked out for them. If you do decide to go for it, here are a few of the many options to keep in mind.
The most obvious option is to work in any capacity you can. Gaining work experience in your preferred field can provide you with great exposure and financial independence. It may be tough to find paid work right after school or college, but you can definitely try applying.
You can also use this time to upskill and finish off all those things you’ve been putting off because you were ‘too busy’. The possibilities are clearly endless, you could finally get your driver’s license, brush up on the language skills that you let go of in school, or you could simply start working out and get fit.
Another option is volunteering. There are so many organizations in your area that need your help. This kind of work experience also goes a long way and looks impressive on your resume. Think about the skills you possess and how you can use them to help people around you. If you’ve decided on a career path, you could volunteer in that area. Or you could try something entirely different and new, to have a new experience. Volunteering not only improves your work skills, but it also helps in building and developing life skills.
You could also use this time to travel, because the kind of exposure and perspective you get through that is incredibly valuable. It can also help you build contacts.
If all of this sounds very overwhelming, you can also use a part of your gap year to simply take some time off. Finishing college or school is a lot of work and it is completely okay to give yourself time. The expectation of ‘knowing what you want to do’ and that you have everything figured out is quite unrealistic, so take your time to figure out your goals.