Gaining life experience
Taking a gap year can be a great way to ‘fly the nest.’ It can help you to move from under the shadow of your family and allow you to stand on your own two feet. We often learn the most about ourselves when we are in charge of our own destiny. Taking a gap year could be the best way to get out there and learn about where you want to be in the ‘real world.’
Develop some skills
A gap year can help you to build on or develop skills that can be vital when entering the working world. Work on your communication, team working, and initiative in a working situation. If you have an industry that you are aiming towards you can also gain relevant experience that can either help you to get onto your chosen degree or into that dream job.
If you have career goals in mind, you can plan your gap year to make you more employable. It can be a great way to boost your CV and to show to an employer that you are career focussed. A friend of mine who was training in orthotics and prosthetics completed experience in a limb centre in a war torn country. This enabled her to gain relevant experience at the front line which impressed employers with her initiative and drive. Think about your career goals and plan your gap year accordingly.
After being in school and college for so long it can be easy to focus primarily on fun and relaxation. Bear in mind that being able to dance all night, whilst painted in luminous paint at the Koh Phangan full moon party, is unlikely to land you that dream job. Create a balance and ensure that you gain some career skills as well as having fun!
You also need to consider whether you can actually afford to take a gap year or whether you’ll just be building up unnecessary debt. Try and give yourself the chance to save up for your gap year by planning for it well in advance.
Bear in mind that over the past 10 years or so there has been a massive boom in organisations offering gap year experiences. Do your research thoroughly to ensure they offer the experience that you need. Remember, you don’t need to pay an organisation to organise your gap year. It can be a lot cheaper and more tailored to your needs if you organise it yourself, just make sure you have enough time to plan it properly.
Are you thinking of taking a gap year and are struggling to know what to do? Or, have you just had the best year of your life and want to share your experiences with others?
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