How to Make Sure Your Gap Year Boosts Your Career?
You can trek the snow-capped peaks in Patagonia, and probably stumble into the Little Prince. You can also conduct coral reef research in the Maldives, hoping to be a snorkeling instructor at the conclusion of your research. You can try to be a game ranger in Africa, hoping to channel your inner Haggard. The world is your oyster if you use your gap year wisely.
The title of the post prompts you to wonder if it's possible to plan your gap year. You can't do it at all. You should have a mate, at the very least, who didn't resist the allure of wanderlust. You're green with envy at the tales that would make the manicured fields, which you grow up with, dull even on a soggy afternoon. There wouldn't be any hesitation on your friend's part (while narrating those adventures), which is how it should be. No apologies even if there are a few pictures of wild fun (or so you think) on social media. (And you're amused at your mate's response to his current employer on Facebook. He seems to be calling the shots.) Keep in mind that it's about taking the road less traveled and putting a unique spin on it. Alex Garland should come to mind, but authorship won't be one of your options in the immediate future. There's a good chance that you become addicted to traveling, so you're planning your next holiday after you're done with the coursework. What is the moral lesson behind it? Plenty if you look at the big picture.
You're a truly lucky individual, if not a brilliant teenager, if what you would do during your gap year leads to a job that you truly passionate about. There won't be a single day that you feel like you're working at all, yet you wonder if it's possible at all. You wouldn't know until you find out.
What Do You Want to Get Out of It?
Good experience vs. unusual skills. You might be torn between wanting to establish an impressive LinkedIn profile and doing something that you can talk (and laugh) about for the years to come. You want it your own way, yet it wouldn't make any difference if you choose one or the other. Remember that gaining a good experience doesn't guarantee that employers would notice you. (Persistence and charm should help you go places.) On the other hand, learning two or three languages in a span of a year (or less) may impress some employers. You might have not read the job ad one more time, though. How you customise your CV should give you an idea of what experience and skills you include (or exclude). You can cite your patience and your first lessons in dealing with other people, two valued traits in the workplace. There's a start.
Plan beforehand (or take a leap of faith). There are a few things that you must look carefully when you're deciding on this one. Travelling is not cheap, even if you vow to live in hostels (or guest houses) and eat with the locals (who you might work with). You may end up with a wealth of experience, which can make you wiser and richer. (And your admissions tutor may give you an unconditional offer after reading your personal statement.) It can put you deep in debt if you don't watch out for your spending. In this regard, you may want to talk to Mum and Dad. Is it possible to dip into their savings account? You know Garland would do it (after reading the first chapter of "The Beach"), but you know that those days (and kind) of backpacking are long gone. Nonetheless, you don't want locals to take advantage of your unfamiliarity in exotic places. Then again, you're becoming paranoid about the situation. When is the last time that you have gone on a holiday on the continent? You might want to plan your crossing of the channel after the holiday. Take a mental note of what you have done, and what you have learned, along the way. Look at it from a professional point of view. Do you see an employer hiring you?
Gap-year greatness (or not). Reading "Lord Jim", "Gulliver's Travels", and Jack Kerouac's (travel) essays would make you aspire for your own greatness. You're thinking of ascending the stairway to Tiger Cave Temple, which consists of almost 1,300 steps. It's one of your excuses to go to the southern parts of Thailand, and you don't mind telling about it during a job interview. Any interview (if you think about it). You're also tempted to go to Nepal, and get close to the Himalayas. You don't know how exhausting it can be, if it can make you spent (at the end of a long, and probably perilous, journey). And the Borobudur Temple is on the top of your must-see list. You don't want to look too far ahead, though. You must focus on your first step, which is creating a short list of the activities that you want to do while you're away from home. Search for groups (or organisations) that share your aspirations. Do an online research. It won't take a day or two to arrive at your decision (and desired destination).
Here’s Some Valuable Tips for You
Don’t ever think that you don’t need insurance. There’s a high chance that you want to throw caution to the wind, so better be safe than sorry later. Don’t bring a lot of clothing (and other things), as you want to save some space for souvenirs. (And the dSLR camera is quite heavy enough.) Last but not least, you would end up in the company of people whose customs are different from yours. Politeness is one of your best traits, so put it to good use.