So you've graduated and are thinking of taking a gap year. It's not just a year off, it's an exciting decision that can be hugely rewarding.
Let's take a look at a few good reasons for why taking a gap year before or after your postgrad studies is a great idea.
Employers love experience so why not use your gap year to take an internship or volunteer? International work experience can be particularly valuable to potential employers as, among other things, it demonstrates a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.
Gain Confidence & Maturity
You've learned a lot at school and university, and if you studied literature, you may know that it was the great Irish author, James Joyce, who said, "Life is the great teacher." Many gap years are so full with experiences and adventures that even a few months can feel like a lifetime. In their 2015 National Gap Year Alumni Survey, the American Gap Association found that 98% of gap year students said the experience had helped them grow as a person. 97% said it had helped them gain maturity, and 96% said that their gap year had given them more self-confidence.
Improve Your Grades
These days burnout is not just a condition reserved for Wall Street executives, it's increasingly becoming an issue among students too. Taking a year out from your studies is not only stimulating, but it can also help you return to your studies refreshed and reinvigorated. Harvard's daily newspaper, The Crimson, certainly thinks this is the case. In the year 2000 the paper reported that students who had taken a year off had found the experience "so valuable that they would advise all Harvard students to consider it." Harvard's overall graduation rate of 97% is one of the highest in the USA. Their attitude towards taking time off seems to play a role in their success.
See The World
This could be your last chance to really travel and experience other countries at a deeper level. Sure, you may be able to squeeze in an overseas trip here and there when you're working, but five days in the Bahamas doesn't compare to a working holiday in Japan. It could even be a chance to learn new skills. A gap year abroad can be a great opportunity to learn a foreign language. There are many benefits to learning another language, not least of which is improving your career opportunities.
You're Only Young Once
Travel is great fun, but it can also be tiring. Time and energy become precious commodities as we grow older so why not do it while you're young and in your prime? A year may seem like a long time now, but years have a habit of passing by like months later on in our lives. Whatever reason you choose for taking a gap year, you're unlikely to ever regret it.