What is a Gap Year and How to Make It as Productive as Possible - LiveCarta

What is a Gap Year and How to Make It as Productive as Possible

How To Become An Author In 2020
August 19, 2022

This is a great time to find yourself, give realization to dream projects and gain new skills.

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A gap year is a one-year gap between graduation from high school and entering a university. Some young people take it to take a break from exams. Others - to understand themselves and understand what the soul really lies in. And someone, having not entered the university of their dreams, lays a year of intensive preparation for the exam in order to pass it better next time.

Taking a gap year is a common practice in the US, where, according to a survey, more than a quarter of Americans prefer to take a year's break before entering university.

And indeed, this decision carries both pros and cons. In this blog post, we tell you more about the gap year and share tips on how to organize it so that it turns out to be useful and productive.

Disadvantages of a gap year

A year's break can be exciting, especially when you're extremely tired after you've passed your final exams. However, those considering this option should be aware that they may become unaccustomed to the educational process or experience negative emotions.

1. Emergence of a sense of FoMO

FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a state in which a person is afraid to miss something interesting and/or important. So, if friends are ahead in school by a year, you may feel that you are lagging behind life. And after listening to the stories of fellow freshmen, you might start thinking you’re missing out on an important experience. This will only lead to negative emotions, since it will no longer be possible to enter the first year overnight.

2. Weaning from the educational process

Remember how hard it is to integrate into school life after the holidays. However, they last just for three months. And during the gap year, you can wean yourself from formal education even more.

Getting back to studies after a gap year, you will have to repeat the material covered, re-accustom yourself to discipline, and rebuild the grid of activities that has been formed over the year. All this may require additional effort.

Advantages of a gap year

A gap year can give you time to take a break, pursue a personal project, learn new skills, build a career plan, and more.

1. New experience

During this year, you will be able to try yourself in various guises: go on a hitchhiking trip, participate in a volunteer program, organize your own small business and much more!. In the university years, such an opportunity, most likely, will no longer be presented: study will take all the attention. And when work starts, there may not be free time.

2. New skills and knowledge

This point is indirectly related to the first. Learning a foreign language, getting a driver's license - all this is much easier when you do not need to allocate resources for studying at the university. In addition, during this time you can prepare for the re-taking the exam if the results of the previous year are not satisfactory.

3. Bonus for future resume

Some employers will not understand why you have a gap between school and university. But do not worry –  that this will not reduce your chances of getting a position. On the contrary, if during the year's break you have mastered the skills necessary for work and acquired useful experience, this will be a plus and help you stand out from the crowd.

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How to make gap year useful and productive

Make a list of activities that you would like to do during the gap year and create a schedule. Choose them depending on your goals. Do you need a break in order to save money for your dream university? Or to realize your own business ambitions? Here are four areas for thought.

Take on a personal project

Perhaps, while studying at school, you came up with an idea for a project? But, most likely, you did not have time to implement it - you threw all your energy into preparing for exams and communicating with friends.

Gap year can be an ideal period to develop this project: you will finally find the strength to open a small business, write a book, create a photo exhibition, start a blog. Ideally, all this will grow into a source of income and help your future career.

Make friends and pals

No matter how you decide to spend your year off, making new connections will be a good addition to this extraordinary experience. Perhaps you will get a pen pal - for example, from the city in which you are going to enter. Or maybe expand your circle of acquaintances in the field of a potential profession. Most likely, some school friends will leave, and new friends will help you not get bored.

Explore a new field or master a new skill

This column can contain both dream skills - those that you want to have, and those that are necessary for entering a university and applying for a future position.

For example, job search and change consultant Libryia Jones advises: “Look up maybe 25 senior-level positions in that field – what are the skills required for the next job up from entry level? Invest time in learning that skill. There are so many online courses you can take advantage of.”

Get a job

Perhaps this is not the most inspiring activity on the list. However, it will help you hone the skills needed for your future profession, or simply earn money to pay for part of the education or living in another city.

However, there are plenty of ways to earn money during a gap year: work as a freelancer, become a counselor in a camp, get a job as a waiter or a nanny. It is better if this profession is from the field with which you would like to connect your life in the future.

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