Gap Year: How to Use It Wisely

Sometimes college can become so hard that it prevents you from looking ahead. It even makes you want to drop out or just flunk your classes until they ask you to leave. However, before opting for such drastic behavior maybe you should consider taking a break. Based on the American Gap Association, 90% of students who took a year off returned to college and had higher grades than their peers.

A gap year is nothing unheard of during college, although it’s more common before enrollment. But taking a year off during college to collect your thoughts and have a change of scenery is acceptable, even advisable. The only problem with this plan is if you plan to waste that year on doing nothing useful at all. If you’re still contemplating what to do during that year, here is some advice on how to use it wisely.

Travel abroad

The best way to clear your head and gain some new experiences is through travel. Set up a consultation with migration agents, make a plan and examine your options. You can travel to Paris and attend a photography course, or go to Italy and learn how to make pastries. Find a job or do one remotely from another part of the world.

Allow yourself to meet new people, get to know different cultures and relax. Take an easier pace than when you were in college. This change of scenery will help you get things into perspective and show you some other choices you can make in college, like taking different classes.

Run a start-up

Many students work part-time during college, that is nothing out of the ordinary. However, if you plan to run a start-up, maybe a gap year would be a smart business and educational move. Many students take loans and go into debt to pay for college. If you have an idea for a start-up, then you should pursue it.

If you feel that it can have a negative effect on your grades and college performance, then a year off is a great idea to find your business bearings. But make sure that you create a business plan which will keep you organized and won’t take more than a year from your education.

Figure it all out

If you became unsure that the major you chose is right for you, a gap year is perfect to examine your other choices or reconsider the current one. Use that one year to apply for internships in something different than the major you’re studying. See what else is out there and do the research on other professions.

After high school, students hardly have an opportunity to really experience the profession they’re studying for. So this would be the perfect time to see if they’ve made the right choice and what it entails.

Overcome the language barrier

If you’re a foreign student, then you may need more time to adapt to the new education system. You can spend that time perfecting the language in English courses or getting to know the new culture and people. Many foreign students can feel isolated and confused, so it’s best to pause one year and get used to the new culture. You can attend some open courses at the college to help you with your curriculum or get a tutor.

In the end

Don’t be afraid to take a break. Many celebrities like Steve Jobs and JK Rowling took a year off, and they turned out to be very successful individuals. If you need a breather for any reason and your grades start dropping, then it’s better to give yourself some time off. Use that gap year to restart yourself and do something which will make you a better student when you return to college.

Leila Dorari is an entrepreneur and freelance writer from Sydney. She believes that the quality of our lives depends on how much we invest in ourselves. You can usually find her blogging from the comfort of her room or hiking with her furry four-legged friend.



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