“A gap year (also known as year abroad, year out, year off, deferred year, bridging year, time off, and time out) is a year during which students take time off and engage in activities other than schooling, such as travel or work. The gap year is most commonly taken after secondary school and before starting university. However, over recent years there has been an increase in 21-23 year olds taking a gap year after completing their degree.”
As a 21-year-old, I embarked on my gap year before starting my Master’s program. Although I technically haven’t graduated from my university yet, I decided to take a break from my studies because I wasn’t ready to commit to a Master’s degree that could potentially dictate my future career for the rest of my life. At the University of Manchester (UoM), we finish our final year in June, but we don’t officially graduate until November or December. So, I’m still a UoM student, just without the workload and classes!
Some might argue that taking a gap year is just a way to put off real-life responsibilities or studies. However, many young people view it as an opportunity to explore new places, experiences, and develop a better understanding of themselves before settling down into their careers.
Here are four benefits of taking a gap year:
1) Broadening your horizon
Whether you choose to spend your gap year in your hometown or abroad, the experiences you gain will stay with you for the rest of your life. Remember that experiences are not limited by location but by the imagination. Make the most of wherever you are and be open to learning and growing.
2) Mapping out your life
At 21, it’s natural not to have your entire life planned out. Taking a gap year allows you the time to reflect on your goals and interests before investing in a Master’s degree or entering the workforce. This way, you can make more informed decisions about your future.
3) Finding yourself
During your gap year, you have the freedom to redefine yourself and explore new interests. This time away from the expectations and assumptions of others can be invaluable in helping you discover your passions and strengths.
4) Enhancing Your Resume
Whether you travel, work, or volunteer during your gap year, you can leverage these experiences to showcase valuable skills and accomplishments on your resume. Highlight how your gap year experiences have contributed to your personal and professional growth.
What Do You Think?
A gap year can be an excellent opportunity to travel, work, learn new skills, or languages. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Let us know in the comments below what you plan to do during your gap year and how you think it will benefit you in the long run!