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There are so many reasons to take a gap year between school and studies, but before we dive into them let’s just acknowledge how damn weird the past 18 months have been.
Instead of finishing school full of hope and excitement, you might be feeling a little wary, mentally exhausted or unsure about what you want to do next. Trust us, you’re not the only one feeling a little lost.
Even if Australia’s international borders stay shut you can plan an epic gap year in 2022 or 2023. Here’s some tips and ideas for how to make your year-long break one to remember.
Maybe you’re feeling unsure if university is right for you, or you don’t feel ready to commit to a career without exploring the real world a little more. Maybe all those exam blocks have you feeling burnt out. It can feel like there’s a lot of pressure on you to choose a life-long career while you’re still a teenager but maybe you need more time to explore the world, develop some wisdom and "find yourself".
Of course, you have to make plans and use your year wisely. Here are some benefits of taking a gap year:
Plus, did you know people who take a gap year are more likely to finish their degree, less likely to change their major, they receive higher grades, are more employable, and they are more likely to be satisfied with their career. Sounds amazing, right?
You could travel, work, experience or learn things on your gap year – the choice is yours. Let’s dive into what that might look like….
Embarking on gap year travel is definitely the most popular thing to do. And just because the Australian borders are closed, doesn’t mean you have to sit at home feeling cursed about the year you graduated high school.
Given the current circumstances on travel, having a Plan A and Plan B in 2022 and 2023 is your safest bet. We say dream big, go bold and let your mind drift to far away places, to foreign cities and streets, to new experiences and culture. There’s a chance that the borders may open in time for your gap year adventure.
Of course, on the other hand, you’re lucky enough to live in Australia. Some people spend a lifetime saving to one day visit our giant island nation so if you look within our borders you’ll find plenty worth seeing. Maybe you really want to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or see Uluru up close. With a year up your sleeve, pencil in a roadtrips with mates, join an independent tour or embark on a backpacking trek around the great land down under. No doubt you’ll make new friends along the way.
A gap year is 12 months of self discovery and figuring out what your next move is. Use your time to test and trial different careers or workplaces, and often make cash money at the same time.
Some Australian school leavers will use their gap year for work experience placements, internships and job shadowing. These shorter placements, like our totally free four-week Virtual Work Experiences, give you the chance to try-before-you-buy into your future career plus you gain valuable experience to display on your CV.
Other fresh high school graduates might find themselves working low-skill jobs to save up for that big caravanning trip around Australia. This can also look good on your resume if you play it right – instead of working full-time at an ice-cream shop, try and find a receptionist job or something in a field or industry that you are interested in.
Picture this: you’re making money, gaining experience, meeting new people and discovering another culture. It might be tricky to pull off in 2022, but in 2023 you might be able to arrange a placement at a USA summer camp, a ski season in Canada or Japan, teach English in Korea or China, or work on a vineyard in New Zealand or at a hostel in Ireland.
From brushing up on your Italian to trying a new sport to working on your problem solving skills, there are plenty of ways to beef up your gap year with fun new skills. With the stress of school and exams in the way, hobbies and following your curiosity can fall by the wayside.
Use your gap year to go deep on your hobbies. If you’re passionate about something, then often you can spin it into a career or use it as inspiration for what you do next.
Then of course there are practical, universal skills to work on like critical thinking, problem solving, communication and self-awareness. Check out our free Upskilling Microprograms. They take just 40 minutes to complete but will get you thinking deeper about yourself.
Those are just a few ideas to get you dreaming about what your ultimate gap year looks like. Find out more about our free programs on the Explore tab.
Between the pressures of high school, being a teenager and choosing a career you need to make time to look after your mental health.