Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Well, without wishing to offend Mr Wilde, finishing university after several years of studying is a shock to the system for most students. It’s a way of life that is seldom replicated again in the world of full-time work – a daunting prospect, to say the least.
Parents are bound to be anxious about their child’s next steps – 45% of university students in 2021 reported feeling woefully unprepared for the professional arena. A gap year can provide a more cushioned landing and a meaningful way to gain invaluable experience that will serve them well in the first few years after university.
What is a Gap Year?
A gap year is a 12-month period without the responsibilities of formal studying in which students take part in different experiences, like travel or volunteering. Some people choose to do a combination of many activities.
It’s most popular to undertake a gap year after secondary school but before university. However, it may be more beneficial after having already obtained a degree. Read on to find out why.
Doing a degree with one focus may not provide the breadth of knowledge needed to navigate the world with awareness and sensitivity.
Exploring other countries expands cultural knowledge and understanding, creating a well-rounded adult. Friendships made during gap years can also be excellent practice for networking in the workplace.
Getting work experience, a part-time role or volunteering on a year abroad is impressive on a CV. It doesn’t have to be relevant to university qualifications to be valuable. However, doing something relevant to the degree discipline may bolster chances of clinching a role in today’s competitive job market.
It’s unusual for a gap year to provide much income, so carefully consider whether your finances can support them while they’re away.
When outside the familiar, it makes it easier to discover new interests that wouldn’t normally come to light in the everyday.
In doing so, personal strengths, weaknesses and preferences are more easily identifiable, so a gap year has the potential to guide career choices.
Studying is a real strain on any young person’s mental health. With expectations and pressures at every turn, they’re bound to need a break after working hard to achieve their degree.
A gap year resets the mind, making it easier to prepare mentally for starting employment. With so many benefits, why not float the idea of a gap year to your graduand?