The Gap Year: What to Do with Your Free Time
Taking a year off from school before university or college might be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. It could be a year filled with self-discovery and joy. All you have to do is seize the day — or “carpe diem” as they say in Latin. The following are a few ideas to help you make the most of your gap year.
Learn a Hobby
It’s never too late to learn a new skill, such as learning how to play the piano, mastering a new language, or trying out photography. Well, now’s the time to do it! During your gap year, when you have a break from school, you’ll probably have a lot more time on your hands — and you might not know what to do with it. As you try a new hobby and add more variety into your life, you might find a life-long passion that will bring you joy for years to come.
Furthermore, we all need balance in our lives: a balance between work and leisure. During your final year of high school, you were probably busy studying, working, and preparing for university or college. Now it’s time to strike a balance and have more fun.
You may be only one person, and a young person at that, but you can make a positive difference in your community (as cliché as it sounds). There are so many not-for-profit organizations that would be happy to have your help. For example, if you love animals you could volunteer at a local animal shelter walking dogs. Although you won’t get paid, you will benefit great deal from the experience – helping others could give your life a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment.
If you’re thinking about pursuing a career, such as journalism, but you’re not sure if it’s the right career choice for you, try volunteering at your local newspaper. This will help you get your “feet wet” and decide if it’s your dream occupation, and you’ll receive further clarification about which university or college program you should apply for.
Be an Intern
Besides volunteering, taking an internship during your gap year is a great way to try out an occupation that you’re interested in. It’s also a fantastic way to experience the professional world, where you’ll learn all about office culture, proper etiquette, how to dress, etc. The experience could really help you mature into the professional young man or woman you’d like to be.
Additionally, taking on an internship will help you network and gain professional contacts. If you’re lucky, someone will decide to take you under their wing and mentor you. Then you’ll have the perfect role model to follow — someone who could help lead you to your dream career.
Spend Time with Your Family
Enjoying your family’s company might not be on the top of your priority list. Yet, a few years from now when you’re off at university or college and living on your own, you might reminisce about the past and wish you had spent more quality time with your loved ones. So, savour and appreciate your family — go on short trips, play board games, watch movies together, etc. You’ll be glad you did!