Considering Taking a Gap Year?
Is taking a gap year right for you? The questions you need to ask yourself when considering a gap year.
It is hard to finish one academic journey to finally begin the next. After finishing your last exam, your hard-earned freedom awaits you. So, what do you do next? A gap year can be taken anytime you want. Most advantages of taking a gap year include figuring out what to do next, reevaluating your decisions and options, traveling the world, or maybe even finally getting some rest.
The point stands: everyone’s rushing to get their academic journey over and done with that they may not consider pausing and taking it all in. As with everything, everyone has their own experiences and their own definition of what a good life is. It is always important to remember that every person has their own pace and their own journey. Do not get caught up in someone else’s life. Remember: life is not a race. To master this, you need to assess your own reasons for why you would want to take a gap year.
According to the Oxford dictionary, a gap year is defined as “a period, typically an academic year, taken by a student as a break between school and university or college education”. The three general timeframes in which an individual tends to take a gap year is, before university, during university, and after university.
Aside from knowing the timeframe of your gap year, it is important to ask yourself some questions:
Q1. How much support do I need?
Q2. Am I more comfortable alone or being part of a program?
Q3. Will I be doing things that benefit me?
Q4. How will this affect my university plans?
Q5. What is the goal of taking a gap year?
The next question that may be asked is, ‘What Should I Do for My Gap Year?’ A few options could be, backpacking through several countries, work overseas, or volunteer abroad. Another question is independently or as part of a program? This demands you to do some research into what you mostly feel comfortable with. It is even worth considering an internship or a casual job. This not only allows you to develop your skill set, but helps you find fields that mostly align with you. The real-world experience you gain attracts future employers as it proves your capability of achieving things beyond a university lecture hall.
Not everyone may approve of your decision to take a gap year, however, it is necessary to make decisions that best support the plans and goals you set for yourself. Always keep in mind that you alone will be living with the consequences of your decisions. Thus, it is important to not allow anyone to influence your decision.