Taking the first few steps along your career path can be difficult. It’s rarely the case that you land your dream job straight out of college or university. Following your graduation, it’s far more likely that you’ll face a lengthy and often frustrating job hunt. (Don’t shoot the messenger.)
At this time of uncertainty, it’s not surprising that students and graduates are opting to take a year out while they assess their options. Options such as returning to education, applying for an internship, volunteering or even travelling.
Are you considering a gap year? Here are 5 key benefits to taking a year out.
It provides alternative education
You may not be progressing to that postgrad but a year out can be a wonderful education in itself. If you are working in a temporary job, it teaches you the value of money, responsibility and how to work effectively with other people. If you are travelling, you experience and learn about new cultures. If you are just taking a break, it helps you to gain perspective and to make a more informed decision on the best career move for you.
It builds confidence
Whether you are travelling to a new continent or working full-time, a gap year affords you a level of independence outside of your educational routine. You are thrown from your comfort zone and forced to interact with people and situations which are unfamiliar. You’ll learn a lot from spending time with people outside your usual social circles and this does wonders for your communication skills. When you’re a better communicator, you’re more confident meeting new people and speaking publicly.
It reduces burnout
Between intensive study sessions and exam pressure, college can be a stressful time. This stress can take its toll on your physical and mental health. Taking a break from academia can relieve the pressures and lead to a more balanced approach to learning, if and when you do return.
It helps with decision-making
A gap year can lead to improved clarity about career choices. A year away from education or your desired career can offer a new perspective and help to get your priorities aligned. You have a clearer idea of what you want to pursue professionally. And what you don’t!
It allows you to focus on new interests
Away from the time constraints of education or a new job, those who take a gap year are free to explore new opportunities and passions. Learn a new language, take up an instrument or even volunteer at a charity.