The Gap Year is the playground of all years. You can pretty much do whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want. It can be done before, during or after university/work lasting from 1-infinite years. I took a gap year and it was awesome, so here’s five reasons why…
1. You get to travel, duuuh.
This is the perfect time (as I was told thousands of times) “You won’t get anther chance”. Being scared by this myth is kind of a good thing, within a month of deferring my entry I had planned trips to South Africa and America, all because I couldn’t waste the year that would allow me to jet off around the world before I was limited to P&O cruises with my retirement buddies.
Travelling can really change the sort of person you are, for the good. Eyes are opened to different cultures, people, experiences. Independency is pretty important once you’re out of comfy college, if you want a fast-track degree in it then go travel. It doesn’t have to be out of the country or totally on your own, just get the feel of what it’s like to be in charge of yourself in an unfamiliar place- it’s pretty fun.
So, cliché but true; there are some pretty inspirational things/people out there so go out and find them (before they too get stuck on cruises).
2. You look like a good person
In my town everyone knows everyone and everyone else’s business. It’s the short conversations we have to fill everyone in on our lives and other people’s lives. So when I’m wandering round town midday Tuesday, someone has to know why.
First there’s the sympathy for not getting your university place (don’t worry I put them straight pretty quickly), then they assume you must come back every week to check up on the cat or something. “No, I’ve taken a gap year”. Those few words seem to turn on a switch in people’s heads that then place your social status up with Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela- close. No questions need to be asked, obviously you’re helping build mud huts is Africa or teach English in China. Although mine weren’t quite as extreme I was still helping others and so maybe I only just missed out on nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.
3. Hello money old friend
A gap year is the perfect chance to get that working world experience and less (more) importantly, ze money. Sadly not everyone is blessed with minted folks as is commonly thought of with every gap yearer. Whatever the next step is in life it has to be funded in some way. I was a waitress and I was a terrible waitress, hint: the worse you are and the better your sweet apologetic smile is the bigger the tip. Fortunately for the diners of that restaurant I was only there for a month before I went off to Kent to nanny which was far more suited to me.
I know there’s all this ‘tough times no jobs yadayada’ but don’t wallow in skint sadness. Doing that = not awesome gap year so what I suggest is combine point 1. and 3. to become working as you travel. Simples. Be a nanny in Spain, a camp counselor in America, a bar tender in Australia, a teacher in China. There are so many decent agencies out there to get you started on jobs abroad so go google it!
4. Refresh and prepare!
A gap year sets straight a lot of things.I don’t know if this just refers to me or is something a lot of gap yearers find but having a fresh page to do anything you like at your own pace highlights a lot of….issues? Basically it’s a chance to spend time with yourself whilst everyone else is at uni or somewhere and that’s quite nice I suppose. Unless you hate yourself. A lot changed in one year for me and it was all for the good so if you’re in need of a refreshment- take a gap year! Although maybe re-assess your issues to make sure they qualify for a whole year off?
Now preparation, as already mentioned, gap years offer a kind of enlightenment to the greatness of the world.
It’s also a time to get your liver into combat mode come university. From experience, South Africa is the land of shots and America is the land of time travel back to the underage days, therefore everyone is trying to get crunk in a form of ‘initiation’ or rebellion. Future posts will go into this in detail but we’ll leave it as you will have some awfulsome nights out and what better way to start liver training than on the other side of the world with strangers. Being careful is a big part of it but when you are you’ll understand the greatness of say, stroh rum.
5. You have no other option
Results day isn’t that great. Congrats to all that make it and if you don’t it’s honestly not the end of the world, that’s yet to come I’m sure. Often this horrible day becomes the beginning of the greatest year because of all those points up there and a load of other stuff too. I honestly didn’t think I’d got the grades for my place (funnily enough I was right) and had planned a gap year (that had also been something I’d always dismissed); somehow I was accepted but still phoned up to defer my entry. Good choice Fliss.
So when you’ve got your head down the toilet and feel like your head has been run over by a tractor I hope that it was from your celebration of a spankin’ brand new gap year…