Making the Most Out of Your Gap Year

23 July 2021

Everybody has a different definition of what a gap year is – whether it’s a semester or an entire year, taking the time to re-evaluate your passions or tune into your hobbies can be incredibly rewarding. Around 30% of Canadian youth delayed more than four months after high school graduation. Taking a gap year offers endless avenues for you to become a more well-rounded person while also avoiding burning out from constantly being on the grind. Although a gap year is usually heavily connotated with traveling, life has been different for many with travel restrictions – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most out of your virtual gap year! Here some ideas that you can consider.

1.            Research to create a plan
Some people prefer to be more spontaneous, but if you want to optimize this period, researching possible programs or work opportunities and creating a solid plan before taking time off is a smart choice. Researching options before your gap year can also help you prepare for specific programs or opportunities that are time sensitive. You don’t necessarily have to plan out your entire year, but a little bit of research can spark new inspirations and ideas. Programs like Canadian Gap Year Association provides wonderful resources, while GVI or Go Abroad offer online courses or volunteer programs.

2.            Work full-time
Working full-time is not only a valuable experience but can also earn you some extra cash. A professional work experience can expand your network and allow you to dive into an industry you’re interested in. There are many work experiences that you can carry out remotely, and whether you end up liking the work or not, it’s still a valuable experience for you to narrow down to a possible career path. If you’re looking for a job, check out WorkBC.ca’s job board.  

3.            Learn a new skill… or two!
A gap year is a great opportunity to either teach yourself a new skill or enroll in a program – regardless of the method you go for, the possibilities are endless with resources available to you right from home. Learning a new skill can give you clarity on your interests, and perhaps impact your future studies or career path. Whether you’re learning how to code or enrolling in a 101 course, this can propel your future career.

4.            Volunteer
A lot of communities are in need especially during this unprecedented time. Locating a community or program to devote your time and effort can be fulfilling for many. Virtual volunteering is often flexible to your schedule with various options ranging from a one-time project to an ongoing scheduled basis. Volunteering also introduces you to like-minded and passionate people – getting to know similar people in your area can offer new opportunities. Read our previous blog: Three Benefits of Volunteering.

5.            Start a passion project
Have you been wanting to start that YouTube channel for a while now? Or write a novel? Or maybe record a podcast? If a deeply seeded passion of yours has been collecting dust for some time, it’s time to revisit it with your full attention and dedication. Perfecting a craft takes time – which is why this can be a perfect chance for you to discover your true passion or your ultimate life path. Or even better, an extra source of income!
 
You don’t have to be in post-secondary to take a gap year – you can be a recent high school or college graduate. Whether you are looking for a mental health break or a self-development time, remember that you have full control! A gap year is entirely what you make of it, get started by checking out WorkBC’s resources for youth to kickstart your gap year.