A gap year is a year of experience learning between high school graduation and college admission. Gap years enable students to take a break from academics in order to explore themselves and determine what type of school and job they want to follow.
Now that graduation is just around the corner, you know you’re going to have to make a choice. You either continue to walk the academic path or join the professional world. But, what most people won’t tell you is that there is one more path you can take, a road less travelled, if you may – taking a gap year.
Depending on whom you ask, taking a gap year can be the best or the worst decision you make. Most people who decide to take a gap year are either those so want a break or those who are not yet sure about what they want to do next. Either way, people look to indulge in hobbies, new experiences and self-discovery in this time they give themselves.
To ensure you make the most of this time, ask yourself this question: “Where do you see yourself at the end of this, what do you want to achieve?” – It is important that you know what you’re getting into because if you blindly take a gap year, it might just end up turning into an extended holiday. So, make sure you have your objectives in place before your journey this “road less travelled”.
Taking a gap year puts you at a crossroads, and it’s a time to contemplate and explore your options. Mentoria’s holistic psychometric career assessment test can help you with your decision. Our test helps you find your ideal career based on your unique interests, skills and personality.
Here are a few recommendations we have if you’ve been thinking about taking a gap year:
1. Pursue Your Interests
Love gardening but never found enough time to dedicate to it? Got a lot of books collecting dust on your shelf that you never had the time to read? Is there a dance form you’ve always wanted to master? If yes, it is time you give your time to these tasks. As trivial as they may seem, using your gap year to do the things you’ve put on the backburner while busy getting through college, is a great way to understand yourself and reconnect with your interests. And who knows, spending all this time pursuing your interests might just help you realise what you want to do with your future!
2. Learn Something New
We know you just finished about 15 years of learning and need a break from “studying”. But, when we speak of learning something new, we mean learning new skills. Spend the year learning adulting skills like doing basic plumbing or repairs around the house. Beyond that, there are other exciting things to learn like a new language or learning to play an instrument! Developing these skills will help you become a better, more wholesome person, and more ready for life than ever!
It is no secret that there is a huge difference between what you learn in the safe confines of your classrooms and the real world. Use this time to grab a couple of internships to help you get a feel of the professional world and decide what suits you best. Make a list of the interests you’d like to pursue and look for internships in those fields. It’s best to look for short-term internships so you can explore more options. This way, you will have given each of your interests a fair chance before you choose your career path.
4. Volunteer for a Cause
If there is a cause that you strongly believe in, this is the time for you to actively contribute to it. There are a lot of institutions that offer you a chance to help out causes like child welfare and education through programmes like Teach For India. Here you can volunteer on a part-time basis to teach underprivileged children. This year that you spend helping people, will let you see the world in a different light and help make you a more empathetic person.
5. Explore and Travel
Everyone has fantasies about travelling and discovering new parts of the world. It is seen as an opportunity to discover oneself. If you don’t know what you want to do yet, travelling can be a great option for you. When you travel, you meet different people, find yourself living amongst people from a different culture, and learn how they live their lives. This makes you more open-minded and helps you become your own person. Also, while you travel, take up part-time jobs to support your finances. These odd jobs that you do from time to time will also help you build your soft skills and make you readier than ever to face the world when you get back. Another way you can travel is through volunteering programmes like Volunteerhq. You can travel with them and contribute your time to working towards different causes.
Looking for guidance as you explore during your gap year? Speak to Mentoria’s expert career counsellors to get personalized step-by-step guidance throughout your career discovery journey.
6. Become Independent
There are some skills that are essential for every human being. Skills like cooking, looking after yourself and your house. If you don’t already know-how, learn to cook a meal and develop basic skills like providing first aid or sewing a button. Apart from learning these skills, this is also a good time for you to learn about how investments and taxes work. Use this year to work on yourself to become more independent and self-sufficient. This way, when you go out into the real world, you are prepared to take on any challenges that come your way.
While we might give you a list of things to do in your gap year, remember this time is yours, and you must find how best you want to spend it.
“It was a gift I gave to myself to find out who I am, step out of my comfort zone, explore, experiment, and learn new things. At school, we are always fed with information, ideas, and perspectives of how others have made sense of the world. We are never given the time or freedom to have our own perspective. The gap year is that breathing space.” says Lakshmi, who took a gap year after class 12 to figure out her next steps.
At the end of the day (or year), what matters is that you have grown as a person and have learnt a little more about yourself.
Kick-start your career discovery journey with Mentoria during your gap year & be sure to find the right career fit for you. Our 4-step career guidance solution, helps us find the right career fit for you from 3 streams, 850+ courses & 12,000+ careers.