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5 Ways to Make the Best Use of Your Gap Year Before College

Posted on Jul 21, 2018
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Rapidly gaining popularity, the gap year’s concept is this: you’ve completed your Junior College (High School) and are unsure of what course you wish to take up thereafter. In order to sort things out in your head, you decide to take a year’s break before getting back on track to achieving (and possibly deciding on) your next degree or taking the next career step.

What do you do during this period?

Contrary to the stigma that is often associated with this practice, this year need not an unproductive excuse for self-exploration. Think of this gap year instead, as a time to gain skills that may make you a lucrative employee or candidate on the job and education market. Here are a few ideas for you:

1. Skill Up, Sherlock
Saw this coming, didn’t’ you? There’s a reason you did. With millions of graduates pumped out of universities every year, one needs to differentiate themselves from the herd, but repeatedly find themselves failing at skilling up for a lack of time.
Considering this, the gap year can be an essential advantage to you. Pick a course – any course that interests you at an institute or from a range of e-learning websites like Coursera, Khan Academy and the like, and get learning. This will not only show that you didn’t take a “rest” gap, but one that was driven by learning and becoming more knowledgeable.

2. Learn a New Language
You live in a multicultural, multilingual world, and organizations and universities operate in one too. Having another language under your belt, say Mandarin or German may seem a task at the present moment, but it’s a highly fulfilling endeavour. Not only are multilingual people paid higher on an average, but the cognitive benefits associated with knowing and speaking multiple languages is a great organic edge. What’s more, it looks even better on your resume.

3. Volunteer!
Go, help people while you’re taking that year off. There are several NGOs in the country that are in need of volunteers in order to make all that good work happen.
Why volunteer?
It’s simple, really – you get a chance to work on your social and relationship-building skills while having a significant increase in the chances of you being happy (according to a report published by Harvard Health Publications). Other than just this, you also pick up leadership and teamwork skills as volunteering is never a one-man-show.

4. Intern someplace
Working as an intern at an organization can be a great way to ‘preview’ a career option you’d want to explore. Not only does it allow you to have a fair idea of what you wish to do beforehand, but it can also be used as a great tool for career exploration. Maybe try out something you hadn’t thought of before and see how the cards pan out.
Interning is a highly beneficial exercise for those looking to take a gap year. It allows you all the opportunity for that self-exploration in terms of careers, while helping you to skill up.

5. Tear down the walls of your comfort zone
“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.”
Jim Rohn, in saying this, makes a valid point – you’ll never find what you wish to achieve cooped up in one place. Think volunteering might not be for you? How will you know if you do not go out there and try it? Try it this gap year!
Expand your horizons so you can accumulate more possibilities. Take the course abroad, learn a new language, travel alone — maybe you’ll find something that drives your motivation for that degree program, give you better direction as to where you stand.

These are five of the most basic things you can do during your gap year and make the most out of it. Within these options lie several others – it’s like a Chinese box, except that at the end of it, you might just find what you like and end up with skills that make you a better person – on the resume and off it.

Looking for things to do this summer? Working on your study abroad plans simultaneously? We can help.

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