Off Beat

Use Your Gap Year Well

Are you a bit tired of studying, and are hoping to take a break, without ruining your chances of getting into the university of your choice? Then a gap year might just sound like the perfect idea. You don’t have to worry about it ruining your chances of enrollment – top universities have realized the importance of taking a year off and getting to know yourself and the world better.

However, even if it might sound very tempting, don’t use this year to do nothing much but sleep and party. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it at all, but more importantly, make good use of the time you have, and use it to gather experiences and knowledge that will later help you achieve your goals, bot at uni, and afterwards.

Here are some ideas to help you make the most of your gap year:

Work towards your career goals

If you are hoping to earn some money during your gap year, or if you are planning to do some volunteering, make sure you do it in the field you aim to study in later. You will thus be able to have some real life experience before you even start studying the subject, which will give you an edge both during your enrollment, and during your studies. You will also be able to use this experience when you apply for a job down the road.

Don’t overspend

Having your own paycheck, perhaps for the first time in your life, can be an amazing feeling. You suddenly feel the world is at your feet, and you can do anything you please. Make sure you don’t overstep though, and either put the money to good use, or put some of it away for future projects. You can even start yourself a savings fund to pay for books and tuition.

If you are traveling during your gap year, make sure to look into last minute flights, stay in hostels, and prepare your own meals. That way, you will be able to save a bit, plus will be prepared for living on your own down the road.

Keep track of what you do

If you are working or volunteering, make sure you take a letter of recommendation away with you. It will boost your resume, and let your future interviewers know what you have been up to during your gap year. Make sure you stay on good terms with your former co-workers and employers, as you never know when these connections might be useful.

Learn a new skill

You can also use your gap year to either hone a skill you already possess, or learn something you have always wanted to know. If you are a good writer, why not read up on copywriting or SEO. If you are good with numbers, you can try your hand at accounting. If you have always wanted to know how to code, learn the basics of the language that interests you most. All of these skills will boost your value as a future employee, and you can also use them to do some freelance work, even while in college. This will again help you pay your tuition, and will leave you with a safety net, when you enter the job market.

Read anything and everything

Using your gap year to read all of those books you have not had the time for previously can also do wonders for your future studies. There are certainly some books you could not fully grasp when you read them the first time, and now can be the perfect time to re-read them. You can also dive into your favourite book series, without having to worry you are falling behind on schoolwork.

Learn more about who you are

The purpose of your gap year is to get to know yourself and the world around you better. Whether you do this by traveling, reading, meeting new people, or finding a job, is up to you, but do make sure you make it your goal to have as many versatile experiences as you can, as you will never again in your life have a similar opportunity. You will have more and more obligations as you get older, and taking 12 month to do what you really want to do may not be a chance you get again.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you do what you want to do, not what you think you ought to be doing. Your gap year can be your entry ticket to the uni of your dreams, so use it well!