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How not to waste your gap year

A gap year can be the first and maybe last opportunity for you to have no responsibilities for a whole year. You should do your best to spend it as brightly as possible. Think of a gap year not as a vacation but as something that can boost your future career and life as well. “How did you spend your gap year?” is a frequently asked question at interviews. Also, you will be begging for an extra hour to read a book or learn something when you are thirty-five. Don’t waste this brilliant time. The first thing you have to do is to be open-minded. Don’t get lost in mediocre possibilities. After reading this article take a notebook and write down your thoughts, define what you expect from this year and build a clear plan of your activities. Depending on your needs there are thousands of ways of spending this year.

What I want from you is to be honest. You shouldn’t be a volunteer for homeless puppies or plant trees in parks only because it will look amazing in your resume. Do what will look good in your memory. Most students think of traveling. Yeah, it is cool to visit some European countries, look at the Eifel tower, drink some wine in Italy and come back refreshed. However, the value of this year will equal zero. The skills earned during a gap year will be an initial boost for your career. A gap year is an opportunity to learn something new, to obtain a skill set you will be using during your life (and improving it) and to become a better person.

Use this time to learn something new.

Improve your writing skills so you won’t be asking for help with writing papers in a university. Whether you are going to be a doctor and perform surgeries or a marketer and make an outstanding rebranding you have to be good at writing. You will face many situations when you have to express your thoughts in emails or reports and you should do it well. For example, take a look at one of these paperhelp.org reviews written by a programmer. Would you believe it was written by somebody who is not related to writing?

I’d recommend coding. There are hundreds of libraries like CodeCademy and FreeCodeCamp where you can find free front and back-end development courses. If you have a question on coding go to StackOverflow and ask a community. Coding is a crucial skill for modern people who want to be successful.

Spend some time reading psychology and philosophy literature. You won’t make it worse if you start to understand people better. Knowing what people’s behavior means will help to overcome many conflicts and stay out of trouble.

If you feel a strong call to help people (or animals) you are welcome to be a volunteer. The most popular websites that invite students to take part in volunteer programs for free are GoAbroad, GoOverSeas, and VolunteerHQ. They will cover your expenses in exchange for doing a job. This is an excellent way to travel without a huge budget. It is possible to attend up to six programs during a gap year.

Use a gap year to broaden your horizons. See if you can draw or play the guitar, taste new food or write a book. Visit places you have been always dreaming to visit. Expand a list of your hobbies. Find out your own strengths and weaknesses. Knowing that allows you to make fewer wrong decisions.

Don’t waste this beautiful year. I do not want to see you lying on a couch and watching TV every day. As I said before, it can be your last chance to spend 100% of your time just for what you love to do. Imagine there is a future you who is watching at what you are doing. Spend such a gap year that won’t disappoint him or her.