Ah gap years!The stories you will hear from people who have taken them!You will probably do a quick google search and find people’s experiences of taking a gap year vary greatly from sitting at home doing nothing,to working insane hours,to converting to Buddhism somewhere in Vietnam or trekking to Machu Picchu!
Taking a gap year can be very beneficial for personal growth (and also the growth of your savings balance which means money for travel!)When a teacher first suggested I take a gap year on results day I was horrified!Did she think I couldn’t handle university!?The truth was that at the time I probably couldn’t have handled university although I may not have believed it at the time I wasn’t really in a place to go mentally or physically and taking a year out was a blessing in disguise!A gap year is not necessarily “time off” it can actually be very full on!
At first you may feel left behind as your friends go of to university and tell you all about their drunken endeavours while you are sat in bed colouring or preparing yourself for yet another shift.You are not being left behind you are just taking a different path!A gap year provides you with so many different opportunities,it is up to you to make the most of it.You have to be your own motivator and decision maker!
Although the sole purpose of taking a gap year was to recover from my eating disorder I did much more than that!I worked as a HCA in mental health and realised it’s not for me so stuck to waitressing, ran a half marathon and most importantly saved up the dollar to travel South America which made all those bleak lonely weeks in the UK totally worth it!Thats my story but what are some reasons that you should take a gap year?
1)You may perform better at university
Ok so although this is not guaranteed taking a gap year can give you a chance to recuperate from A-Levels and mental/physical burnout so you will be more motivated to study when you go back and your brain will be rested and ready to learn again!
2)Explore your interests!
You can get a part time job in the field of study you plan going into and see if it is for you.There is no point spending 27,000 on a degree you will hate!That being said do not stress if you are not 100% sure about what you want to do after your gap year!You can always change courses and jobs!For example I am doing Nursing but I also would love to be a Yoga teacher or mountain guide part time in the future.I have met so many people travelling who have changed jobs many times.
3)You get to adventure!
You can take advantage of the free time to work and save money to travel!Ok so not everyone may have the chance to go away for months at a time but even a few weeks in a foreign country can be incredible and help you grow as a person!
4)You can grow in maturity
Many people have told me I seem older than my years and while that is questionable a gap year can really help you mature!Going from school into a work environment means you need to integrate yourself and develop skills such as organisation,time management,flexibility e.t.c Working can give you a glimpse into the “adult world” and make you appreciate the value of a dollar even more!
5)You can make YOU a priority
Ok this does not mean to sound selfish but if your health has suffered then now is a time to make it a priority!After all you cannot pour from an empty cup!If you want to help others and make a difference in the world make sure you look after all aspects of your health!
6)You can give back
You can use your time to volunteer,perhaps at an animal shelter,care home or even enroll to a volunteering abroard programme!
7)You can have a greater perspective on the world and life
Univeristy is great but in my opinion it can be a bit sheltered.Going out into the world can help you gain a greater insight into the complexity of issues faced by humanity.You can also grow in appreciation for what you have at home.
8)You can make new friends!
Wether that be at work or travelling a gap year is a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zones and make friendships beyond those of your school/college and from various backgrounds and age groups!Their experiences and perspectives on life can enrich yours!Who knows who you will meet!?
Taking the road less travelled can sometimes lead to the most beautiful destinations!