In October 2015, I decided to call it quits on the Economics undergrad degree I was pursuing, for a host of personal reasons including ill health and terribly disheartening fallouts with close friends. From then to September 2016, I took a year off and it was one of the best years of my life. I took a year off and did things I’ve always wanted to do and more. I took a gap year, and here’s why you should too.
1) I took classes I’ve always wanted to
I have never been into cooking, but baking always fascinated me. But an Indian, the only child of my parents, academics dominated my life and I never had the chance to learn how to bake. But when I took a year off, I needed ways to fill my time. I finally took up a baking class. Learning how to bake, gave me an outlet when I was stressed. To this day, three years after that class, I still bake when life gets too hectic and it calms me down. Besides baking, I’ve always been pretty nifty with my hands. Drawing and DIY crafts have always been up my alley; so I started classes ranging from calligraphy to decoupage to mixed media, all which were incredibly interesting and yielded satisfying and beautiful results. The only reason I got to do any of these things was because of my gap year, and I absolutely loved it.
2) I finally discovered my passion
Writing had always been a hobby. It was a quiet passion, that I was embarrassingly secretive of. But during my break year I took up a content writing job, and through it, my employer discovered the poetry and prose I kept hidden away from the world’s eyes. The cat was out of the bag, and suddenly I- who believed I’d never find my passion- found that my passion was by my side all along. Everything else just fell into place
3) I decided what I wanted to do with my life
Once my passion was discovered, I was raring to go. I decided I wanted to take up journalism and make my hobby of writing, my career. I applied to universities and went to classes for the exams I needed to pass. I took the decision and haven’t looked back since. Fast forward to today, I have over 100 articles to my name and it all goes to back to the decisions I made during my gap year.
4) I made friends for life
Sometimes you meet people and you don’t know how much they’re going to positively influence you. When I joined the 5-day crash course for the IELTS exam I needed to pass, I didn’t think I would make any friends, let alone ones that would remain friends with me for years to come. Within 5 days I met great friends and learnt a lot and I am forever grateful to my gap year for that opportunity.
5) I got to spend cherished time with my family
In the hustle and bustle of getting ahead in life, you often forget to take a moment to spend with family. When I took my gap year, there was undoubtedly a void in my life, but I filled that void with the love I received from my life. I got to spend time with my ailing grandmother and the days I spent with her will always be the best part of my life. Every single day I got to spend with her remain etched in my memory.
6) I became more mature during the year off
One more year. Some more maturity. The disheartening circumstances that forced me to quit my previous course, the classes that I enjoyed, the work experience I gained and the people I met; all of it helped me become more mature than I was the year before and it enlightened and improved me as a student and person.