2020 has been a rough year for the entire world. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, big and small businesses have been struggling to stay open, some have lost their sources of income, and others have even lost a loved one due to the pandemic. Even students are forced to stay home, adapting to online-learning methods through video conference calls. The students with the most headache, however, have to be seniors in college— How does one secure a job in amidst the crashing job market? Should I still continue to graduate school when the future is looking hazier than ever? Would attending graduate school online be a waste of money?
With so much still up in the air, college seniors can consider a third option— taking a gap year. Not only will taking a gap year remove some of the stress from deciding on a career path immediately after graduation, but it also means you’ll be giving yourself a temporary break from all societal expectations, giving yourself the freedom to spend some time however you wish. On top of that, students admitted to graduate schools can wait till the COVID-19 outbreak dies down, hopefully being able to attend in-person lectures at the university a year later.
Not sure what to do on a gap year? The possibilities are endless. Here are a few gap year activities that might inspire you to embark on your own journey:
1. Follow your passions
If you have a passion that you never had the time to properly explore, a gap year will finally solve that, “what if?” question you’ve had lingering at the back of your head. Whether it’s art, music, cooking or something completely new, you’ll have all the time in your hands to practice and maybe even excel at your passion. Depending on how much time you want to dedicate to it, you can even consider applying to companies related to your passion to try and get some real-life experience.
2. Dedicate it to self-growth
Self-growth can mean different things to everyone but generally speaking, have there been things about yourself that you’ve been wanting to improve for a long time? From improving your physical health, mental health, happiness level, relationships with friends and family, or simply just learning to manage your money better or becoming an avid reader, a gap year can be an entire year dedicated to self-improvement.
3. Improve your skillset
Perhaps you already know your dream job and have vision boards hung above your bed in hopes to manifest the job into your life… but you’re missing some of the required/ preferred qualifications or interview skills. With so much time on your hands, write down all the skills that you lack and get learning! Thanks to the internet, almost everything you want to learn is already online, so there’s no excuse to not amp up your resume. Dream job, here I come.
4. Try different jobs
Spent high school and college years chasing after prestigious internships and finishing off school work? Trying out different jobs in different sectors can broaden your horizons and connect you with people you never may have met outside of your normal life. If you’ve only ever worked in internships that are related to your major, try something completely different for a change such as working at an amusement park, fitness centre, restaurant or clothing store. Who knows? You might even find your true calling there.
5. Leave your comfort zone
While it’s still not safe to travel at the moment, spending gap year abroad is usually the most common activity. Not only do you get to experience a different culture, possibly learn a new language, you also learn to become independent without your usual support system back home. It’s a challenging yet rewarding experience that can even change your life!
With countless gap year ideas to choose from, there’s no right or wrong answer to what you should be doing with your gap year. As long as you’re having a good time, that’s all it matters!