Life After Leaving School – Part Two: 5 Reasons You Should Take a Gap Year
Welcome back to our life after leaving school mini-series. So here’s why you shouldn’t go straight to uni, IN MY HUMBLE OPINION as someone who took a gap year and doesn’t regret it.
- You might be on your own but that’s okay.
So yeah, you’re more than likely going to be the only one in your friend group who doesn’t go straight into a job or uni, and some days you might feel like “oh god I should have just gone to uni, this sucks, everything sucks”.
Being on your own is honestly not that bad.
You will learn to differentiate between the people who were your friends because you saw each other every day and those who actually like, you know, you.
Plus if you take away all the influence from your teachers and friends, whatever it is that you want out of life will become a lot clearer. Don’t go to university just because your boyfriend/girlfriend/best friend is, that is truly a recipe for future disappointments.
(Also, going to the cinema on your own is THE BEST THING shhh.)
- You will realise what you want to do…
…Sometimes purely by the fact you’re not doing it.
Or you will do something and realise you never want to do it again, because actually, you’re a bit crap at it and might be better suited to other things (for me, this includes office work, working in kitchens, and archery).
- You don’t have to travel!
Obviously you can if you want to and if you can afford it, but I know quite a few people who didn’t, and we were all fine.
I did voluntary work mostly in Abergavenny – some of it was great and some of it was boring. I looked for jobs. I read a lot. I made friends. I went to my first music festival. I did photography. My friend started teaching herself Cantonese and is now studying it as a module at uni.
Truth is, it’s quite expensive to travel, especially if you want to do it safely or in relative comfort. There are plenty of worthwhile and fulfilling things you can do in South Wales, and the world will still be there for you to explore after you’ve gotten a degree or a job.
- You can be lazy!
Not that I’m suggesting that you spend a whole year in bed and on Netflix. I mean, no judgement if you do, but in all seriousness, full-time, exam-based education is pretty damn stressful (wait until you get to uni. Ha ha, ha). I would highly recommend taking a break before hurling yourself into even more stressful, full-time, exam-based education.
Do the things you like for a bit! I haven’t read anything that wasn’t a textbook for about… 6 months? I think I probably checked out most of the young adult fiction from Aber Library during my gap year and I REGRET NOTHING.
- You can do useful things.
I now have a pretty great CV thanks to the voluntary work I did during my gap year. If you can find a paid job, that’s great and I’m jealous, because no one wanted to employ me hahahahahaHA! (In all fairness I had no experience out of Year 13. No wonder no one wanted to give that fresh-faced idiot any responsibilities.)
It’s good if you can do something that other people can’t do. Get some work experience and work on building a CV – it will impress admissions officers and future employers if you show you’ve at least tried to do something in your gap year.
Work can be boring but at least you are making money – if you’re living at home then most or some of that money can be saved up, and it’s really nice to have surplus money at uni (and in life in general).
TL;DR – there’s plenty of things you can do on a gap year. If it makes you happy or if it’s something you can put on a CV or personal statement, then I’d qualify that as time well spent. Some of the people I know who didn’t go straight to uni ended up choosing something completely different to what they were planning in Year 13, including me!
If you feel like uni is too sudden or you feel rushed, it probably is too soon. You will enjoy it so much more if you’ve spent time thinking and planning and really choosing the right thing for you.
If you want to find out about Dave Deyn’s experience going into work straight after leaving school click here. As always check us out on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep up to date with all our posts.