6 Gap Year Discoveries To Set You Up For Life
So, you’ve decided to take a gap year. Well done and welcome to one of the greatest years of your life! You might be heading straight to work or getting the first plane overseas. You might also be stuck at home as there are some responsibilities you need to take care of with your family. Wherever you are and whatever your situation is, there is no reason that this first year of freedom out of school can’t be great.
Here are 6 discoveries you can make in your gap year that will help to meaningfully shape the rest of your life and how you go about choosing your career path.
1) Discover when and where you feel the most alive and energised
Travel or try something new. Spend time observing yourself in new contexts so that you can start to understand where you feel the happiest and where you feel the most energised. Your gap year can be a perfect time to learn about your strengths through the varied contexts and environments you find yourself in. You might find that you’re the happiest when you’re meeting new people, learning about different cultures and talking politics. Or, you might the most at peace when you’re building something by yourself, with nothing to distract you but the challenge at hand. We’re all different and if you can take this year to learn about what makes you tick then it will be a success.
2) Discover what causes really matter to you
Volunteer or help others. Dieter Uchtdorf said that “as we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.” Your gap year is the perfect time to have the space to reflect on how you could spend your life and career positively impacting the world around you. Plenty of challenges are facing the world today and your impact can make a difference. Now is the perfect time to explore what that could be. It might be local or global, but finding what causes really matter to you will shape how you build and create a meaningful and sustainable life and career.
3) Get out of your comfort zone and meet new people
Don’t just hang around with the same crowd. Your gap year is the perfect time to meet new people and to explore new contexts. It could be connecting with travellers from the other side of the world or exploring a range of part-time jobs that introduce you to a new people with different ideas and beliefs.
It is often the people you meet who are the most different to you that will make the greatest impact on how you see the world. Don’t miss the opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to new communities, people and contexts.
4) Learn about what lifestyle works for you and how to look after your health
School is full of routine and has kept you locked into a tight structure for the last 12 or so years. It doesn’t really give you the room to consider what your optimal lifestyle might look like. On your Gap year try out a few different lifestyles and routines to see what works for you. Do you like working weekends? Do you enjoy working at irregular hours?
As you start exploring what work and general lifestyle works for you, take the opportunity to think about your health. How does your lifestyle impact your health and how can you make it work for you? If you can create good exercise and food habits these will continue to fuel you for the rest of your life.
5) Keep in touch and connected with those you love
As you go off and adventure, don’t forget to check in. It can be tempting to go off the radar, especially if you’re travelling. To save any long-distance arguments or disappointment before the year starts be proactive and talk to your friends and family about yours’ and their expectations for the year. If you’re travelling in particular, when do you need to check in and how can you create a system that works for both parties? This tip will save some future heartache!
6) Explore a range of varied jobs to find what you like
This is the perfect time to try before you buy your career. So many people begin studying at university of TAFE before they have even had any experience of the industry they will be working in. Think of it like a car. It is often wise to try before you buy. Your gap year is the perfect trial period to get some experience through entry-level jobs in prospective industries. The best thing is you don’t need to commit for life. You can try it out as a part-time job or spend 3-6 months in a position and decide it’s not the job for you. This discovery is often as important as discovering what does work for you and is a wise investment when you consider the alternative, only learning this lesson after 3-4 years of expensive and time consuming study.
Creating a diverse range of work, internships and volunteering experiences throughout your gap year will also be helpful when you start looking for work. You will be a step ahead with your industry experience and practical knowledge.
That’s it from us. Enjoy your gap year!