According to the almighty Wiki:
“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 do something 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.”
And as a 21 year old, on the 2nd July 2011, I embarked on my Gap Year before my Masters Course- even thought technically i haven’t graduated from my University yet. At UoM we finish our final year in June but we graduate officially in November/December so i’m still a UoM student juat minus the workload and classes! The reason i decided on a Gap Year was because i wasnt ready to do a Masters Course which would determine the job i would probably have the rest of my life- read i couldn’t decide what i wanted.
But if a Gap Year isn’t for that reason what is it for? When someone says Gap Year, older people say ahh you are just trying to put off real life or studies for as long as possible. But ask a peer, and what you get is- Awesome!, Dude, think of the travelling! Our peers see it as an adventure to broaden our minds before settling down.
So what are the benefits of having a lovely time-out?
1) Broadening your horizon: Whether your gap year is staying in your home town or say, Hong Kong, the experience you have will be with you for the rest of your life. If you resolve to spending most of the gap year in your home town, you can make time to visit local attractions you ve never visited, try out new local restaurants, and re connect with your High School friends or even University friends if they are still in town. You can even re connect with that cute guy who used to work behind the counter at the local hardware shop. Experiences are not limited by location but by lack of imagination- so make the most of where ever you are! If you are travelling, remember space is the limit- unless you re an astronaut on the next mission to the moon!
2) Mapping out your life: At age 21, I don’t think i m ready to decide what I shall do the rest of my life. To spend a small fortune on a Master’s course now and then let it go all to ‘waste’ when you get bored of everything related to it, is not only a pity but a waste of time and hard earned money or even more, a scholarship that could have gone to someone else!
3) Finding yourself: In High School you were the It Girl, or the Debate Society chick, and then in University you were the Dean’s List student, or the Volunteer enthusiast. During your Gap year, you are whoever you want to be. It’s your time to shine and to do away with any preconceived assumptions that people attributed to you in the past. If you wanted to try out some languages courses in your home town but never found the time or the friends to ‘support’ you in the decision- go for it. Many people believe that university is the place to find yourself- but in my case, the university I went to is the only one on the island- so I’ve pretty much got my past antics along in my laptop bag!
4)Flourishing your Resume – Whether you go abroad for your gap year or get at job at your local newspaper office, work it into your resume. Trying to include your travelling on your resume may be hard, but in the area dedicated to skill or experience, you can add how travelling on your gap year or living abroad has broadened your mind, taught you independence and gave you the initiative to plan and organise your trips efficiently.
What Do You Think?
So what are your reasons for a Gap Year and what do you plan on doing during it? Travel, work, learn a new skill or language? The possibilities are endless and an opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd! Leaves us a comment and let us know about your choices!