The bright lights and excitement of Christmas is over for another year, and so as we move into January we are left with dark evenings and wintery weather. It is little surprise therefore, that many people are already thinking about their summer holidays. You can tell just by looking at the ads on TV for sunny holidays abroad. However, for many students it is also time to start thinking about what to do next – and a Gap Year may sound like a great idea – especially if it involves going somewhere a little warmer!
While the promise of warmer weather may seem appealing right now, a gap year needn’t necessarily involve flying off to somewhere sunny, and exactly what you do depends on a number of factors – including what you want to do next.
If you plan on going to university after college, then a gap year may sound like a great idea – taking a break from studying after all of your efforts, while getting the chance to pick up some new skills and experiences. However, this depends on what you are planning to study, and where. Not all universities are keen on students taking time out between sixth form and uni, so it is best to check their stance.
It may also depend on what course you want to take. While some time away in Spain may be great if you are going to study Spanish, it may be less relevant for those studying maths or physics, where there is a fear that students may forget some of their teachings while away.
Of course, Gap Years offer more than direct work experience – there are matters such as the softer skills that are desired by employers – such as communication skills and learning how to think on your feet and innovate. These come with experience, and a gap year can certainly offer plenty of that – so long as you make sure to stay safe while you are away.
Talking of experience, some students opt for a different type of gap year from the stereotype of hiking off to some exotic location for a few months. Instead taking the time out to find some work, earn some money, and get some experience under their belts. Not a bad idea if you have university expenses to consider!
The decision to take a gap year is a personal one, and will depend on your own set of circumstances. You will need to think about if you want to take the year out or just forge ahead, financial constraints, and what you hope to gain from the time out.
For many, a gap year is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they will never forget (or maybe even get the chance to do again!). For others it seems like an unnecessary delay to getting on with their lives. You might want to consider taking a shorter period, perhaps to go abroad and work for the summer.
That being said, a year is not as long as you may think, and taking the time now could really improve your employability and make you stand out from the crowd. Imagine going into a university or job interview and being able to talk about your experiences and all that you did on your gap year – even better if you can tailor your activities to improving and enhancing your career goals.
Whether or not you decide to go for a gap year, it doesn’t hurt to have a look at the gap year opportunities that are available – especially when the weather is cold outside!