Final Reflections On Taking A Gap Year
10 months ago

As it is A-Levels Result's Day, I wanted to wish you guys luck if you are receiving your results. I hope it was everything you would've wanted it to be. If not, remember that your grades do not define you, and there are other options - whether it be clearing, taking a gap year, doing an apprenticeship, or resitting your exams for the next year, your happiness (now and future), should not be defined by your grades.

How was my experience during the gap year?

I honestly remember being in the position that some of you reading this were in last year. I remember the sleepless night on the day of the result's day, dreading going back to my sixth form and seeing everyone in my year, my teachers and Head of Year. The envelope was handed to me and said my name.

My stomach, at that point, had been forming knots. For a minute, opening and processing my results, all of the nerves and anxiousness I felt prior had been removed. I passed my A-Levels and received the grades to get into my firm choice. However, I still felt unsure about going to university. I wanted to evaluate my options. I felt burned out during and after sitting my examinations.

I made the decision not to go into university straight, but working in order to gain some experience in the industry, I felt (at first) was suited for me. I stayed working at the chosen company for a few months, and after realising it was not for me, I worked at a barristers' chamber, which specialises in various human rights laws such as criminal, clinical negligence, and immigration.

What did I learn?

My time at these barristers' chambers allowed me to develop my skills in administration, legal knowledge, communication, and interpersonal skills. I also learned the importance of discipline. Waking up every single day from 9-5 and resting during the weekend is a different transition from attending class and working part-time during the weekends.

Additionally, I was able to put my gap year into more productive use by collaborating with Not Going to Uni and Uptree as an Ambassador. I am forever grateful for the two educational platforms and how they go above and beyond to destigmatise apprenticeships and other options post-A-Levels. Taking a break from academia does not mean you are at a disadvantage or you're 'behind.'

I battled a lot with insecurities and doubts at times over my decision to take a gap year. But, I am reminded of the quote, "Comparison is the thief of joy." There is more than one path to success, and not everyone's journey is linear. Embrace your journey. Embrace the fact that your journey is not straight-forward,

A close friend of mine once reminded me, "Abigail you took the long way, but you landed where you were always supposed to land." My journey towards pursuing the career I desire has only just begun, but my story hasn't ended.

Get Academic and Career Benefits During the Gap Year

A gap year can offer more than just an extended holiday from school or work. It can provide amazing academic and career advantages that will have lasting positive effects. Here are some key advantages in these areas.

Gain Valuable Skills and Knowledge

Your gap year includes engaging in activities that strengthen practical skills and knowledge. Are you an introvert? Try doing activities like volunteering, internships, travel experiences, or personal projects. These experiences often provide invaluable hands-on learning opportunities that cannot be replicated within classroom settings.

Enhancing Future Educational and Career Opportunities

Gap-year experiences can make your academic and career profiles more desirable to universities and employers. Admissions committees and hiring managers tend to favor applicants who possess unique experiences that transcend traditional education.

Applying Gap Year Experiences to Academic and Professional Goals

Your gap year experiences should fit seamlessly with your long-term academic and professional objectives. Gap-year participants often gain skills that apply directly to their desired field of study or career goal.

How to Overcome Obstacles and Learn From Setbacks During a Gap Year?

While taking a gap year can provide numerous opportunities for personal growth and development, it can also pose its fair share of challenges and setbacks. These trials can often provide the greatest lessons about how best to proceed. Also, they can even transform you as you discover ways of dealing with setbacks during the experience! Here's why facing setbacks during your gap year may prove transformative:

Unanticipated Challenges in Business Operations

No matter how well-prepared your gap year may be, unexpected obstacles will surely present themselves during its course. These could include logistical issues, health setbacks, or personal hardships, yet it is important to remember that dealing with them is all part of life's journey and can enrich the experience you take away from it.

Overcoming Adversity and Solving Problems

Your gap year should help develop important problem-solving skills. When faced with challenges, creatively thinking solutions are often required in order to find success - this skill set will benefit not only you during and after your gap year but also in academic and career goals in the future.

Learning from Mistakes and Failures

Setbacks and errors can be powerful teachers, providing opportunities for growth and introspection. Recognizing your errors and learning from those experiences can be one of the most enriching parts of a gap year experience.

Planning and Next Steps for Future Projects and Solutions

As your gap year winds down, you must carefully assess and plan for its aftermath. Experiences gained during your gap year may shape future decisions; here is how you can prepare effectively:

Setting New Goals and Objectives

Reevaluate the personal and professional goals you set at the outset of your gap year and evaluate how your experiences have altered these ambitions. Examine whether priorities have shifted or new goals have emerged; setting clear objectives will provide direction for future growth.

Transition Back into Formal Education or Work

If you took a gap year from formal education or work, you must plan for its return. Choose whether you will resume studies, apply to universities, or enter the job market; outline all necessary steps so this transition goes as smoothly as possible.

Maintain the Spirit of Exploration and Adventure

Your gap year probably instilled you with a sense of adventure and discovery, so when returning to formal commitments, I suggest you find ways to maintain that sense of openness and curiosity. Look out for opportunities for travel, learning, and personal growth.

Summary

This is my last blog post on Not Going to Uni. However, I plan to continue to inspire those who have read and watched my journey from afar regarding all things gap year and post-A-Level options. I have no regrets about my decision to take a gap year, and I hope through my story, one can take inspiration in knowing that you are the final decision-maker in your life and things will work out.

FAQs

What is a gap year, and why do people take one?

You can take a gap year between completing high school and starting college. I can't say there are any specific reasons behind taking a gap year. However, there can be many reasons why you should take gap years. I have some common examples to help you know more about the gap year. Do you want personal growth or want to discover something? Also, do you want to gain practical experience? A gap year can help you improve such weak grounds. Moreover, you can take a break from formal education to refocus.

What are some common activities during a gap year?

There are a lot of activities you can do during the gap year. However, there aren't any defined activities as every individual has their own interests and goals. Again, if you're confused about which common activities to do, you can travel, volunteer, take part as an intern, work to earn, or even learn new languages. A gap year helps you complete all the activities you felt you couldn't complete during your education. You can also do projects like writing, art, or entrepreneurship.

How can I ensure that my gap year is productive and beneficial for my future?

To make your gap year productive and beneficial, I recommend you set clear goals. These goals shall align with your interests and future plans. Also, they should reflect on your experiences. Consider how they apply to your academic or career goals. The last tip from my side is to always seek mentorship or guidance to make informed decisions for your next steps.

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