What are the benefits of taking a gap year?

Written by Calvin Bowers

Some people thrive in formal education. Others need a break, or even a gap year!

After spending most of your life in an institution, where your time is decided by someone else, you might feel the need to take some time to yourself.

This could be so you can finally delve into parts of your life you had previously locked away. Whether it is exploring the rainforests of South America, or testing your hand at a start-up, taking a gap year could set your life up for the better, forever.

Most importantly, you’re at a time in your life where you have a lot of significant decisions to make. Taking time to get some perspective could be the best decision you ever make.

So, you’re interested but not convinced. Try reading this list of benefits and see if they change your mind:

1. Get Perspective

If you are unsure about what the first step in your career should be, don’t take it. You don’t want to commit a significant amount of time and money to something you might be unhappy with and quit a year down the line.

Taking a year out is not a waste of time, there are plenty of things you can learn and achieve. The only waste of time you could have is if you commit to something you don’t actually want to be doing.

Nowadays, nearly half of all experienced professionals are considering switching careers. Getting some perspective on what you want in life could save you years of working in a field you’re not happy with.

If perspective is what you need, you should challenge yourself to try out as many different types of work as you can.

2. Take A Break

School is not for everyone. 14 years of your life being run by an institution can take its toll.

Going through all that, along with all the struggles of being a teenager, is no easy feat. Sometimes, those later years can really take a toll on people’s mental health.

So, it is entirely normal, and rather healthy, to take some time out for yourself. Life isn’t always about work, sometimes the best thing to do is think about yourself and your wellbeing.

3. See the world

There aren’t many times in your career that you will be able to spend long periods gallivanting across the world.

Exploring different countries has a long list of benefits.

Firstly, you get to experience cultures different to your own. This is a great way to gain perspective because you can learn other and better ways to live, or better appreciate the way you live at home.

Secondly, you get to meet hundreds of people you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. When you’re meeting like-minded people, making long-lasting friendships isn’t tricky.

If you have an urge to take a year off, here is a list of a few things you could do before starting an apprenticeship or going to university:

  1. Go traveling
  2. Discover a new hobby
  3. Learn a new language
  4. Check your mental health
  5. Contemplate your next step

Have fun!

Last Updated: Friday October 9 2020
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