Welcome back for another gap year post! As you may know my goal this year is to write a series of blog posts dedicated to how and why to gap year, based on my own experiences, and because I found there to be a limited amount of information on taking a gap year I guess I’ll just have to make that source!! (Do let me know of anyone who is doing something similar!! I’d love to see what others have to say).
One big thing about taking a gap year is kind of the taboo and misconceptions around what taking a gap year actually means. Basically, because unlike tertiary institutes, or organised companies, doing a gap year has no corporation or company, effectively, selling you a product, so there’s no place to “sell” you the idea. No one can really make any money off of pitching a gap year to people, because it’s a year dedicated to finding your own way and doing no less than what you want to do before the rest of your adulthood. The only way to get information is to ask other people or online, which I already feel there is a shortage of. Because of this, there are a lot of misconceptions because there’s no one real answer to each question. But I can help out with what I know so far:
“You’ll have no structure, compared to university/school”
True, you won’t have term times, bell times, and scheduled classes, but actually you will have some sort of structure, which differs from person to person. If you work you have that, if you have a hobby that requires a lesson (instrument, language etc.) you have that structure. Exercise, travel, and other tasks throughout your year do give you a structure, it’s just up to you to define it, which quite frankly I think is an advantage, because you’ll learn how to function without an organisation giving you term dates or periods of time. It also gives you much more flexibility to do what you want, within reason. It prepares you for your future working life.
“You’ll get bored without a given course throughout the year.”
This was admittedly something I really wondered about, whether I would get bored working for a whole year compared to my friends going to university/tertiary study. But the reality is that I have never enjoyed my life as much as now!! I get so much satisfaction from working, earning money, and making plans for travel. I don’t have study debt hanging over my head, I don’t have to study, and I have a lot of flexibility around when I work. I know I’ll have to put in more effort to make sure I’m catching up with my friends, but you have to do that anyway when you finish school.
“How do you even know what to do on your gap year?”
I asked on Instagram about this, and the majority of people reckoned they wouldn’t know “how to do a gap year”. I think it’s maybe the wrong way to look at it “how to do one” because there is no one way or same experience. You just do it, and let it unfold the way you want it to.
I took to my Instagram (@luimaria09) on Tuesday and asked you lot about whether you had any questions about gap years. One response I got was from the amazing blogger Mirielle (@mirielleeblog) was whether it is easier to go with other people. I think definitely it is an advantage, especially as an eighteen year old girl to travel with others, or at least travel with them and do your own thing from there. Having people to help you through homesickness, culture shock, when you get tired, lonely or unwell, it can make all the difference. But you can definitely do it alone, especially when you have people to back you up and support you just in case.
The other was whether it’s best to go to actual hotels, or other accommodation. For me I’m going to be backpacking on a shoestring, so it’s all hostels. Hostels are a great way to meet people, save money, and are great for gap year travellers. However, you can still be safe, clean, etc. just depending on the hostel.
I really hope you learned something from this post, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Have you done a gap year? Would you? What do you want to know about gap years?
Until next time,