Sometimes students think that the natural next step after school is to go straight into university. This isn’t always the case. I tried university twice because the first time wasn’t what I expected. I had chosen the wrong course and rushed in thinking that I didn’t have another choice. Sometimes schools push you into a decision and you don’t have time to put much thought into it. In reality, you have plenty of time. Sometimes people forget that gap years are an option and that they can be incredibly important before deciding on a university or pathway. Here is a list stating the importance of gap years.
1. A gap year can give you time to think through your options.
Not many people know what they want to do in life, especially not immediately after school. You might have an idea but it doesn’t always turn out the way you expect. A gap year can give you the opportunity to try out different jobs or travel to new places. You might find the university for you in another country, it’s all about exploring other opportunities before deciding.
2. It’s a well needed break from education.
I wasn’t ready to go straight from one form of education to another. It’s okay if you aren’t either. GCSEs and A Levels can be incredibly stressful and you might want to give yourself a break before diving into more essays or exams. You might even realise that education actually isn’t for you at all anymore.
3. They give you a chance to travel.
A lot of people use their gap years to explore the world. If you don’t mind living out of a back-pack then why not give it a go? Experience other cultures, learn new languages, try it whilst you can! You might decide to stay in another country for longer and choose their university. You won’t know what’s out there unless you look.
4. Or it’s a chance to improve your CV.
Gap years aren’t always used for travelling. It might be a chance to volunteer somewhere or get a job. If you have an idea of the career you think you’ll follow, then why not try it out first? Gap years can greatly improve your CV and make you a more desirable employee or even student. Even if you don’t have an idea of a degree just yet, get a part time job to help improve your confidence and enjoy the year out with your friends instead. You’re allowed a break sometimes.
5. It can be good to clear your head and prepare for the next step.
A gap year can allow you to just relax for a bit and slowly decide on what’s next for you. University? An apprenticeship or internship? It gives you more time to plan and mentally prepare yourself for what you’re thinking of doing next.
6.Allows you to do more research.
Whether it’s researching a university, a course or even a career path, a gap year can help you take your time when searching. You don’t have to find the perfect place for you instantly. It’s a big decision to make so use your time wisely and allow yourself to look around.
7. They’re a great chance to meet new people.
Whether it’s through travelling or volunteering, you may meet a variety of people who you’ll cherish for life! It’s not always what you know, but who you know. Do some networking, see who you find.
8. You might find a hidden passion.
Whilst you’re researching or having a break, you might stumble into a job or hobby you didn’t know you’d enjoy. One little realisation could give you a clear plan for where to go next. Enjoy yourself and try new things while you have the time.
9. A great chance to improve yourself and mature.
Some students aren’t emotionally ready to dive into university straight after school. They may need a year to work or do something productive in order to gain the necessary confidence needed for university. That is completely fine. Know your limits and know where you need to improve. If you’re incredibly shy, university might be too much of a big step at first. Don’t jump in immediately, ease yourself. Your health is more important.
10. A good time to just reflect.
Reflection is key during a time of confusion. If you don’t have a clear plan or know what’s next for you, then don’t force it. Allow yourself the time to reflect on your passions and strengths before you move on.