During my gap year I will work on…

A gap year—the word can sound scary but taking a gap year can be a very beneficial experience.

What is a gap year exactly? Typically during a gap year a student takes time off from school to work on other experiences like volunteering, traveling or working.

Here’s how taking a gap year can help you build a good foundation to help you in your future success.

Build new skills

A gap-year can be a time to build new skills. Your resume will be jam-packed!

This can be done is a variety of ways to support your needs.

Darryl Philbin from The Office saying "I have management experience" confidently.
You confidently showing off what you learned during your gap year.

For example, you can volunteer at non-profit organizations, do internships or take part-time courses. Part-time courses can help build leadership, teamwork and public speaking skills; all great skills that recruiters look for in a candidate.

The opportunity to work or intern in your desired industry during a gap year can be extremely helpful. You’ll learn about the job and about yourself and get a feel of the industry and workplace! It’s a chance for you to figure out what you like and dislike prior to continuing your education. Sometimes a job or industry isn’t what you expect (and you can always change your mind).

Let’s be honest, who hasn’t thought about changing their major?

Questions to consider are:

  • Do you prefer a tight-knit team or individual work?
  • Do you prefer a front forward customer service position or working behind the scenes?
  • What type of work hours does this role demand?
  • What type of lifestyle is possible in this role?

Discover your options and resources

Cat looking around indecisively with the text "So many choices..."

A gap year offers the opportunity to discover new opportunities and options. It can also allow more time to make important decisions such as selecting your program, major or just what to do next.

There is also more time to discover resources to assist you in decision making. Speaking to upper-year students and a program advisor are also great ways to get more information about the academic expectations. And, to prepare yourself for a healthy school and social life balance.

Academic and career advisors can show you what type of educational path is required for various careers. There are various academic options at Humber and UofGH such as:

If you look at LinkedIn, you’ll find lots of people in the same industry who have very different educational and career paths.

There isn’t solely one way to get to your dream job!

Create a plan

Scene from Home Alone with a battle plan being unrolled on a desk.

Working out a plan can be helpful in mapping our your short-term and long-term goals. It will remind you of what you’re working towards.

Assistant (to the) Regional Manager? Maybe being your own boss?

And, if you change your mind? Then you can always remap your plan, everyone’s student journey is different.

Learning to set S.M.A.R.T. goals is also a good way to create achievable objectives and reward your accomplishments. 

Going at your own pace will allow you to be more confident in your decisions. Even after your gap year, this is an essential skill in career development!

Learn when to rest

The Child from the Mandalorian stepping down and sitting, tired.

Finally, a gap-year can really happen at any time. It might occur prior to entering post-secondary education or during your studies. Or, perhaps before pursuing graduate level education and entering the workforce.

A gap year is really a break (who doesn’t like a break)! With academic burnout becoming more prevalent, it is important to recognize when you need to take time off.

Even established professionals take mental health breaks and vacations.

Choosing to take a gap year can lay the foundation for connecting with yourself and your needs. Many people struggle with recognizing their emotional and mental health needs, and this can lead to burn out.

Throughout our journeys there may be other instances of stress such as work and social obligations.

Learning how to be productive, problem solve and understanding when you need a break helps create a strong foundation for the future. Who knew a gap year could be so useful? (We did!)

Working on your goals and on yourself now will only help future you! So give yourself a pat on the back!

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