Whether you are considering a gap year or definitely taking one, there are a few things you will need to think about. This time last year, I knew I was definitely taking a gap year but still did no preparation and had no plans what so ever and I am making it my mission that nobody else does the same. A gap year is about 14 months out of education where NOBODY is telling you what to do. Not a single person is telling you your itinerary for the year or forcing you to do anything, which may sound “cool” but it isn’t after sitting on your bum doing nothing everyday while all of your friends are busy with a job or university. I am here to tell you 10 tips that I think will be useful for anybody starting a gap year:
- PLAN PLAN PLAN! If you don’t have a plan for your gap year, please make one. Even if it is just for the first half of the year, having some kind of schedule will help you in the long term. Whether your plan consists of 9 months work and 3 months travelling or all working but in different places, anything is fine as long as it is something that is fully possible and something that you would like to do. A gap year is time off to really do whatever you want to do so why not make the most of it?
- Consider your options. Yes, if you want a job and find one in 2 seconds then that is great but what about everything else out there? Is that job exactly what you had in mind? Does it relate to the career path that you would like to go down? Can you see yourself doing this for the duration of your gap year? These are all things to think about. Have you just said yes to a gap year company to go with them to work with sloths in South America? Is that the best thing or would you prefer to work with elephants in Thailand? The possibilities are immense and you need to make sure you are having the gap year that you want. Don’t settle.
- If you start your gap year and aren’t enjoying it or want to do something else, THAT IS OK! I started my gap year in the same job I had throughout college and I was bored stiff. I stopped working there and got an interview for a job being a maths tutor and adored it. I started working as a Maths tutor in March… MARCH. I changed very late on but I was happy for the last 5 months of my gap year and I don’t regret a thing. You can change your gap year whenever you like so please don’t put any pressure on yourself to enjoy something that you don’t.
- Don’t forget about after your gap year. If you are planning on going to university afterwards, remember to apply for your student loan, your accommodation and buying all your essentials. Yes, it’s great to get inside your gap year bubble but remember that it doesn’t last forever. You still need to think about what your next step is.
- Consider what you could do for a year that you can continue with? I started a blog so that I could keep it up throughout my life like a little diary but others do a variety of things. Some people start working of a charity and keep it close to their hearts while completing their degree or apprenticeship. Some people start to learn a language so that they can go on trips later in life and use their new found skill. If there is a late night course that you have always wanted to try, do it!
- Maybe think about a stay-at-home gap year. You don’t always have to fly all over the world to be able to say that you had an unforgettable gap year. There are so many opportunities throughout your life where you can do something crazy and amazing like travelling and you don’t have to do it now to be able to feel like you did it properly. If you don’t feel ready then don’t feel like you have to push yourself. Want to get out the house but not necessarily out of the country? There are LOADS of gap year opportunities in the UK that offer you an unforgettable experience and I think it would be worth visiting those ideas as well.
- University is expensive. It is never a bad idea to get a job and save money. I understand that getting a job in your gap year isn’t for everybody and I completely get it. But, if you are thinking ahead then you will probably agree with my that getting a job for a large section of your gap year isn’t ever a bad move. Even if you don’t end up saving a lot of money, anything will help support you – especially if you decide to move into accommodation of some sort for your further education.
- Take some time out. A Levels, BTECs and any other equivalent courses are stressful and it’s inevitable that they will have tired you out somehow. Take some time off to let yourself recover. You may be some strong and tough human that doesn’t get fazed by hours and hours of revising but you would still benefit greatly from some time to relax and recuperate. The amount of people that drop out of university because it is a push to far or don’t give themselves any time off is unbelievable. Having some “me time” is never a bad idea. Chill, put your feet up and enjoy it for a little bit.
- Do what you want to do. That may sound really obvious but if your friends want to travel to Australia to do something crazy but you don’t, that is absolutely fine! The opportunities are endless and, as I have said previously, it’s never to late to decide to do something different. Obviously, it’s better to have your plan for your year sorted as soon as possible but that doesn’t mean that you can’t officially sort out what you would like to do in October, December of even March like me. Just don’t put any pressure on anything and make sure that your gap year is YOUR gap year.
- Finally, if you have decided to go to university after your gap year and have some free time, get ahead. Get yourself some work experience, start getting yourself familiar with your chosen degree and visit your university city, walk around and get to know the area. This will really help you when you get to moving in day!
And there we go. These are my pieces of advise but I am sure that other people that have also taken gap years have a whole other list of their own. A gap year is an AMAZING thing to do and I can’t recommend it enough. But, don’t take my word for it. Ask around and see if you can get any more insights before starting your year so that you know that you are 100% ready. If you are reading this just as you are about to start your gap year, have an amazing time and I hope you LOVE it! Thank you for reading, I hope you have enjoyed today’s post and I will see you tomorrow with day #26.