What’s a gap year?
A gap year is traditionally when students who have just finished Year 12 take a year off before heading off to university or full-time work. And as you probably know, most people love to spend their gap year travelling.
While it’s great seeing the world and meeting new people, it’s unfortunately not really possible at the moment. So if you’re thinking of taking a gap year, you might be wondering what else there is to do instead.
Never fear – there are heaps of other things you can do in your year off that don’t involve jumping on a plane. But first, let’s talk a little about why you’d want to take a gap year at all.
Benefits of a gap year
A year can sound like a long time. And if you don’t exactly have a plan, it might be a little daunting to imagine what you’re going to do with all that time. If you’re on the fence about taking a gap year, here are some benefits that might sway you.
Take a breather
Year 12 can get pretty intense. Do you really want to jump into another three (or more) years of study straight away? A gap year can be a great time to relax, de-stress, and do some soul-searching. Remember – it’s okay to not know what you want to do right after leaving school.
Grow as a person
Having time away from study can leave you lots of time for other activities. You might pick up a new hobby, volunteer, join a club, take a class, learn a new language, set new goals – the list is endless. Sometimes it’s good to just take some to grow as a person and develop important skills.
You might change your mind
Maybe you found something you really love doing during your gap year and now you don’t want to go to uni anymore. Or maybe your time off just made you even more keen to start studying again. Both of those are ok. Spending the time wisely can help you make decisions for the future.
How can I spend my gap year?
Now for the big question: if I can’t travel, what else can I do with my gap year? Well, the answer is, lots.
There are heaps of benefits to volunteering. You get to meet new people, build new skills, and hopefully do something you enjoy. It can also be satisfying knowing you’re giving something back to the community as well.
I know what you’re thinking – don’t you want to take a gap year to relax a little? But even working part-time can be hugely beneficial for you. You get to learn new skills, build your employment networks, and – best of all – earn some cash. Getting a job or even work experience in a field you’re interested in can also help you decide whether or not it’s the right choice for you.
If you’re keen to find work experience, you can take a look at our work experience database to search for opportunities.
Start a new hobby
Love nature? Start up your own garden. Feeling a bit creative? Learn to paint or play an instrument. Still got those dreams of travel in your mind? Learn a new language. Been putting off those fitness goals? Now is the time to start.
You’d be surprised at what you can achieve in a year. Spending some time doing what you love can also help you narrow down your focus when thinking about what to study.
Want some low-cost hobby ideas? Take a look at this list from Lifehack.
Learn how to become an adult
Having a year off without having to worry about study can give you time to learn other useful life skills. You could learn how to budget, start cooking at home, do some research into tax and superannuation, or find out how to rent a house or unit. These are all things you definitely need to learn how to do one day, so you might as well start now.
Take a look at our blog here for heaps of info on becoming independent.
So what’s next?
Our biggest tip if you’re looking to take a gap year is to make sure you have a plan. Don’t take a year off just to lay around the house and do nothing – that’s not going to benefit you at all.
Take a step back for a second and think about your interests and ambitions. What matters to you? What can you do about it right now? Think about ways you can spend your gap year to improve yourself and your future prospects.
Where can I find out more about gap years?
We’ve got a huge collection of resources on gap years, from tips and advice to program recommendations. You can also take our gap year quiz to see if taking a gap year is the right decision for you.