Turning eighteen is the most daunting milestone – with it come college apps, and the casual responsibility of having to figure out exactly what you want to do for the rest of your life. Happy birthday! There are more than a few adults, especially in our part of the world, that want us to think there’s one specific highway to success. To become engineers, doctors, or lawyers. These are the limited options girls are offered, and usually on a deadline – you’re not alone in feeling confused or lost. Eighteen just isn’t old enough to have your life figured out, and that’s okay. Declaring your desire to take a gap year is usually met with a barricade of questions: people think it’s an excuse to waste time, or worse, a sign of failure. Usually, it’s neither. Some of us just need extra time to make up our minds. It’s better to take longer to make the right decision, than make the wrong one under pressure! Your gap year can be the most enriching experience of your life – if you let it! Read on to find out how you can make the most of your time off.
1. Get Involved In Community Work
Mother Teresa once said “it is a kingly act to assist the fallen,” and we couldn’t agree more with her wise words. Time spent helping someone else in need is never wasted. You may not realise it, but your spare time can be used to create a meaningfully change in so many lives. If you’ve decided to take a gap year, then the best way you can utilise it is by giving back to the community. Find causes that are close to your heart — volunteer for various NGOs, educate underprivileged children, dedicate your time to orphanages and old homes, or help care for rescue animals.
2. Learn New Skills
A gap year shouldn’t stop you from learning. While you take a break from formal education, try your hand at something new. Enrol yourself in various courses and learn a new language, an instrument, develop graphic designing skills, join baking classes – the options are endless.
3. Find Work Experience
Getting a job during your gap year can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. First and foremost, it helps you add weight to your C.V, which is vital. Once you’re graduated and finally jump on the job hunt, you already have a good history of work experience. It also prepares you in advance for all the difficulties and challenges work life entails. And if it’s a paid opportunity, you can even save up some cash for the future. Unlike high school, college life can be quite heavy on your pocket, and you’ll feel more independent knowing you have your own money to spend.
4. Work On Your Goals
Let’s be honest: not everyone is lucky enough to study and pursue a career in their field of choice. Before you resume your academics, look at your gap year as the opportunity of a life time, and shift your focus towards your passions. If photography gives you joy, start working on creating a portfolio; if painting has always been on your mind, indulge yourself in creating the masterpieces that are always on your mind. If you’ve got a knack for acting, learn the craft and give auditions for local theatre plays. Never stop chasing your dreams!
With having little time off school and mountains of course work, travelling is next to impossible for many students. There’s no better time than a gap year to explore the world and discover different cultures. Be it with family, friends, or even solo, don’t miss out on the chance to head out to your dream destinations without having anything to worry about (except your bank account).
6. Learn To Adult
This might be hard to process, but if you’re considering a gap year, then you’ve already entered the early stage of adulthood. As we all know, adulting is not a piece of cake for everyone. In fact, there’s no real guideline for it either. Getting used to it gradually will make things easier for you in the future. From cooking your own meals to managing your finances and beginning to understand taxes, learning each of these essential skills one at a time can be a great way to start your adult life. It may even give you a head start on your peers once you finally reach university.