5 Things You Should Use Your 'Gap Year' For
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5 Things You Should Use Your 'Gap Year' For

Life isn’t “one size fits all,” so why should your education be?

5 Things You Should Use Your 'Gap Year' For

Deciding what to do when you graduate is stressful. After years in school, being told what to do, when to do it, whether or not you may use the bathroom, you’re expected to know what you want to do, who you want to be, and how you’re going to get there. But the fact is, taking time to get your education done is okay. Not waiting and pushing straight through from high school to college to a post-grad degree is also okay. Some people need a break before even fully understanding what they want to do with their life. I know I did.

Regardless of what anybody else says, you need to do what you think is best for you. Maybe you know exactly what you want to do and have the perfect plan to get there but you’re exhausted from the work you’ve done and need a break. I want to encourage you to take that break. I want to encourage you, whatever your situation is, if you are able and want to do so, then take a gap year.

A gap year doesn’t mean a year of relaxation however, it is making an effort to figure out where to plant your feet and what it is you want to achieve at that point in your life.

Here are 5 things you could do during your gap year:

1. Travel

You can travel several places in the US for very little money and, with some saving and a passport, you could even travel out of the country! Travel for fun and visit a place you’ve never been before. This will allow you to experience life from outside your usual scope of understanding. You can travel to volunteer in another state or country and grow as a person. Go somewhere, do something new, and get yourself out of your normal situation.

2. Work

Find a job related to your ideal future career choice and get to work!

I majored in English and took several classes in education because I’ve always had an interest in teaching middle and high school. Upon graduation, a teaching opportunity arose at a local private school, requiring no certification and offering a chance to truly experience my chosen career. I jumped on it and began teaching third grade grammar, literature, and math. That was the best decision of my life. I learned more about myself in that year than I had in my nineteen years prior.

That experience only solidified my desire to become a teacher and showed me that the master’s degree I was unsure about pursuing was absolutely necessary. So, look into the careers you’re interested in and look for a way to get into the business.

3. Intern

If no entry-level jobs are available in the field you’re interested in or you just don’t want to commit to something long-term, internships are always a great option. Internships give you the opportunity to experience the career you’re interested in and boost your resume, which is always a plus. While there is a time commitment involved, it is often a reasonable amount and has a limit. Internships are typically offered in several career paths for students and people just entering the workforce— take advantage!

4. Volunteer

There are several opportunities to volunteer anywhere in the world. But why not start out in your own community? Volunteer in fields related to what you think you want to do, volunteer in fields where you have no desire to work in. Volunteer at your local animal shelter, at the hospital, or clean up along the highway. Volunteer with kids, the elderly, in libraries, anywhere you can and in any way. It’s good for your soul, for your resume, and connections for job recommendations down the road.

You can stay where you are to better your own community or go abroad to benefit another community. While it does cost some money, unless you become a part of the Peace Corps, there are several opportunities to volunteer in Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe. You can go just about anywhere to work animals, people, ecology, preservation, and just about anything else.

5. Read— A LOT

Reading is one of easiest and most fun ways to grow as a person. You don’t need to move or even put on real-person clothes, just sit down with your book and read. Read about your chosen career - if you don’t know what you want to do, then research all your options and read about them. Read about history, read Harry Potter again, read the books you never had time to read when you were in school, read any and everything you can get your hands on.

Life isn’t “one size fits all,” so why should your education be? After a gap year of teaching third grade, I felt far more comfortable applying to my master’s program and registering for classes. I gave myself the time I needed in order to understand my wants more fully, which paid off in a feeling of confidence in my future.

Put your needs first this time and educate yourself on all of your options to do what suits you best!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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