Many students decide to take a gap year either before beginning higher education or before getting a job. A gap year is an opportunity to re-evaluate your life and work towards your goals. It is also a chance to do things you’ve dreamed of. These tips will help you make the most out of your gap year.
Figure out why you decided to take a gap year in the first place: This is not as easy as it sounds. Many of us take a gap year to relax after years of study. Some us take one to work towards college admissions while others spend their year soul searching. You may have taken a gap year without really thinking about it. Remember, there is no right or wrong answer. Figuring out your motivations will help you work towards your goals.
Travel: Travelling is one of the best things to do during your gap year. It opens up your mind to the possibilities. I don’t know anyone who didn’t benefit from travelling abroad. You could save up during college and spend your savings on travel. There are many websites like Coach Surfers (try it at your own risk) that allow you to live in a stranger’s house for free. Cheaper tickets and accommodation options are also available. Try booking the airline ticket in advance or during the off-peak season to save some money. You could also travel locally. It is a great way to experience the benefit of travel without the financial strain of it.
Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to travel, learn and meet new people. One of my friends volunteered in Egypt during his gap year. Volunteering is a cheaper way to travel as most sponsors help you with accommodation and food. Volunteering helps you become independent, learn essential skills like teamwork and gives you opportunities to network with like minded people. You can also volunteer at a local non-profit. This is a cheaper and more convenient way to gain skills that are valued by employers. Volunteering will help you understand and interact better with people. You’ll come out of it with a warm glow in your heart.
Re-discover your hobbies: Did you love to play the piano in elementary school? Did you take painting lessons? Did you love to read novels? It’s time to pick up that long lost hobby of yours again. A gap year is a great opportunity to re-connect with your hobbies. It is not only enjoyable but also helps you discover your hidden talents. And who knows, that may be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that you’ve always been looking for.
Follow your dreams: Many people take a gap year because they feel that they have lost touch with their dreams. Have you always wanted to become an actor but ended up in law school? Was starting a business your childhood dream? Did you expect to get your first book written by twenty five? Now is the time to follow your dream. A gap year is a golden opportunity to re-evaluate your choices. Take this opportunity to do what you’ve always wanted to do. Trying and failing is better than never having tried at all. Take the plunge now.
Learn something new: This may range from whacky things like astrology to more ‘mainstream’ things like music. Take this time to learn something you never thought of learning. The crazier it is, the better. These new experiences enrich your personality. So take up paragliding and fly away. Take a risk, try something you usually wouldn’t. It will give you something to reminisce about when you are older.
Get an online degree or certificate: If you would like a more structured approach, online degrees are a great way to spend your gap year. Many certifications like TEFL can be completed entirely online in less than a year. If you know what kind of job you want to do in the future, take this time to build credentials for it. Many major universities like UCLA, Harvard Extension and Open University offer online degree courses. If you’ve always dreamt of going to college but didn’t have the means or time to do so, an online degree may be a good idea.
Blog: Start a personal blog. This helps you keep track of your growth during your gap year. If you’re an avid reader, you can start a book review blog. If you’re into collecting stamps, write a blog about it. If you love to listen to music, write a music related blog. The opportunities are endless. Many bloggers make a full time income out of blogging. If that is where you want to be, take this opportunity to start your own blog. Remember to post regularly.
Make a bucket list: Have you always wanted to go on the Ellen show? Want to watch a movie alone in a theatre? Try Lebanese food? Whale watch? Make a bucket list of all the things you wanted to do. These may range from sleeping all day to trying out new adventure sports. Then, work on ticking off the items on this list. There’s always a way. The crazier it is, the more interesting memories you end up with.
Live in the moment: This is perhaps the most important thing. It is easy to get anxious about the future during your gap year. Don’t let the future ruin your present. You only have this moment. Live it to the fullest. Savour every memory and you’ll be happy you did.
I hope these tips helped you get an idea of things to do during your gap year. Remember, gap year is a field of endless possibilities. Mix and match these tips or add your own to make this important year of your life an unforgettable memory.
About the author:
P. Wish is an author and blogger. She is released her first book in May, 2015 and has another one coming out in October. To find out more about her, visit, www.pwish.net.