Thinking of Taking a Gap Year? Keep These Five Advantages in Mind
In just the matter of a few short months, the whole landscape of college education has drastically changed. The continuing COVID-19 health crisis has affected nearly all facets of life, including the college and university scene. As the pandemic began spreading throughout the world, colleges were forced to send students home to engage in remote learning. Months later, there is still a considerable amount of uncertainty surrounding the return to campus in the fall. This uncertainty is making a gap year more appealing to students who are unsure if they want to continue with an online educational model or return to campus in the fall in the middle of a pandemic.
While many students are anxious to graduate so that they can join the workforce, there are numerous ways that taking a gap year can benefit your overall career trajectory. Here are five reasons why taking a gap year can be an invaluable experience.
Add Depth to Resume
A gap year delivers a myriad of opportunities when looking to set yourself apart from the crowd. With more freedom in your schedule, you can follow your passions in a variety of disciplines. For example, you can use this time to be intentional about volunteering. Not only will this help to provide direction on future career paths based on what stokes your passions, but it will also look great on a resume. Because this is a major election year, it is the ideal time to volunteer for a campaign. Or consider registering for a service program such as AmeriCorps. The possibilities are endless when you begin to brainstorm ways to add more beef to your resume.
Learn to Budget
You will gain invaluable real-world experience when you take a gap year. One of the most important life skills that you will learn is how to manage a budget. Stepping outside of the comfort zone of the university environment will force you to examine your finances so that you can support yourself during this unique season in life. By focusing on frugality, you will gain skills that you will be able to lean back on throughout various stages in life.
Gain Work Experience
A gap year provides immense opportunities to practice your personal and professional growth through work experience. If you are not sure how you want to focus your studies in college, you can use this time to try some job-shadowing roles. There is no better way to learn more about yourself and what stimulates your curiosities more than immersing yourself in a specific career path to see if it is a good fit for your skillset and passions. Do not discount what kind of knowledge you can glean from trying out a few different jobs before deciding on a direction in college.
Learn a New Language
Although the global pandemic may limit your travel opportunities during your gap year, you can still use this extra time off to learn a new language. Becoming bilingual is an amazing way to market yourself to prospective employers looking for a diverse workforce. Even if you are not able to travel internationally, you can connect with people all over the world through online programs. These programs connect you with online partners to help you to brush up on language skills, share meals over the internet, and more. Do not let the constraints of the pandemic limit your ability to expand your global citizenship.
Boost Your Confidence
You cannot put a price on the confidence that you will gain when you step out into the real world for yourself. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone will pay off significant dividends as you learn more about what you want to do with the rest of life. Use this time to put yourself in new and unique situations to grow your confidence in your problem-solving skills. This time of dedicated reflection will assist you in learning how to be an independent adult.
In times of uncertainty, it is clear that you often have to think outside of the box if you want to boost your job prospects. If the online educational model is not appealing to you or if you are uncertain about immersing yourself in campus life during the health crisis, a gap year may be the best solution for you.
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