August has been a bit of a turbulent month for many people. Covid continues to be a threat to everyday life, jobs are uncertain, and young people are now facing the long-term effects of the poor management of the A-level results system.
A* grade students were knocked down to D grades. Thousands didn’t get into university. My heart broke for all the students now unsure about their futures. Luckily, the following week this algorithm was scrapped and students were awarded their teacher predicted grades. A huge victory, but perhaps a little too late for some who still couldn’t get a place on their university courses.
Yet there is still hope! If you are a student who has been forced into taking a gap year, don’t be disheartened. From my experience (and many many others) having a year out is a great opportunity for a plethora of reasons.
I asked on my Instagram for others to share their experiences and anecdotes, and the results were 100% positive. Every single person agreed that it was right for them and they gained so much from their gap year. Some may have had one before uni, some after, or some have carried on living the ‘gap life’.
Here’s 24 reasons why taking a gap year at any point in your life is a fantastic decision!
- You have a year completely at your own pace. Enjoy it.
- A gap year can be a welcome delay before embarking upon the journey towards ‘real life’, and relieve the pressure of making big, important decisions.
- You can TRAVEL! Of course I’m a huge advocate of this one – travelling was my goal for my gap year and I learned so much about the world, other religions, cultures…. and just generally had fun!
- You have time to volunteer. Have you ever wanted to volunteer for a charity or great organisation but kept using the excuse that you couldn’t afford it or you didn’t have the time? A gap year can be the time to do that. I volunteered in Sri Lanka for 6 weeks and it was the best experience of my life.
- You can expand your CV. Probably what most people do in their gap year is get a job! This can be your chance to really expand your skill set and gain valuable work experience, as well as develop a strong work ethic.
- You have time to really think about your career, education and future. Loads of people end up on a totally different path at the end of their gap year, because they’ve had time to re-assess and follow their dreams.
- To get a break from education! Another common theme seems to be that a lot of people didn’t want to be the ‘eternal student’. Take a break from the books and relax.
- You can change your mind a hundred times, and that is OK. Kind of like point no.6, you have the time to look at the bigger picture and re-assess whether your goals from college/sixth form/wherever are still your goals. You can change your mind and your career until you find out what you really want to do.
- Decide whether university is for you. Maybe it could be your chance to look into other options, like apprenticeships, internships, alternative college courses or work abroad.
- Make new friends and strengthen your bonds with old ones, too.
- Gain some independence, even if you still live at home.
- You can focus on your personal growth – many people find they get a huge confidence boost from travelling, working, and being more independent for a year!
- Take up a new skill or hobby!
- Think about what makes YOU truly happy. Ignore your Grandma telling you to get a ‘real job’ or that uncle telling you to ‘stop being selfish’ or your auntie’s cousin’s dog’s godmother telling you to ‘settle down’. YOU DO YOU.
- Be selfish for a year. Embrace everything that comes your way.
- Save money.…. and spend it on whatever you want!
- There are no expectations from a gap year. It’s not one of those things where everyone has the same outcome at the end. It doesn’t matter where you are with your career, education, relationship… there is no expectation and therefore no disappointment.
- Create a bucket list and start ticking them off!
- Be spontaneous! Me and a friend booked a random trip to Budapest the following week – best spontaneous trip ever!
- Spend more time with family and friends.
- …… or just with yourself, if that’s what you need.
- Focus on your health – mental and physical.
- It’s only a year! I’ve heard so many people saying they’ll ‘miss out’ on uni if they take a gap year….eh?! University will still be there after if you want to go. Trust me, you will NOT be missing out on uni just because you take ONE year out. Have an epic year and then head to uni for another incredible 3 years – both are fantastic!
- It is completely flexible! If you want it to be. There’s zero commitment. Take a second gap year, or 3 or 5 or 10! It’s your life and you call the shots.
There’s many many more reasons why I recommend anyone to take a gap year, so I hope this can help any students who have been disheartened or upset by the events of the past few weeks. If you have any thoughts to add, leave them in the comments below!