Your parents have agreed that you can take a gap year after matric, or you’ve twisted their arm to allow you to take a gap year, but what are your plans for that gap year? What are you going to do during a gap year? What can you do during a gap year?
Read through everything in this post (recommended) and also scroll down to see different gap year ideas.
Taking a gap year is often thought of as taking a year off after matric to “find yourself” before deciding on what you want to do with your life, or which career path to follow.
You might like it to be that taking a year off after matric means you get a year in which you can simply relax and just do as you please before embarking on the “adventure of after matric life” (can’t blame you; who wouldn’t want to take a year off, doing whatever they please – and being able to afford to do so too!?) but taking a year off after matric can do a lot more for you than simply relax you.
One particular thing to be careful of during a gap year, especially if you are not doing much during that gap year, is that you don’t get out of the habit of doing assignments and learning for exams. Imagine that you don’t have to do any assignments or learn anything for a full year – pure bliss – but will you be able to get back into a hard working routine after a year off from it?
It is especially important not to get used to the wonderful feeling of not having to spend time doing assignments or learning if you have definitely decided that you are going to study further after your gap year.
Getting used to and enjoying not learning or working hard is one of the bad things that taking a year off after matric may do to you, but what are the good things that may happen to you during your gap year?
You will grow a year older – and with age comes more maturity and wisdom.
Even if your family drive you mad at times, blood is thicker than water, and now that you are not so caught up with your matric year, you have a chance to strengthen family ties and get to know your family even more. If you hit a “wobbly” in your future, it will be good to know for certain that you can count on your family to be there for you – more readily so because you bothered to get to know them a little more in your year off after matric.
Anything that you do during your gap year may make you consider following a different career path to the one you first thought of following – one that may be more suited to you, ultimately maybe helping you do a better healthy and successful job of living your life and making money.
So, what can you do during your gap year after matric?
There are a wide variety of options, a few of which are mentioned below:
– if you cannot afford to travel far from home, you can still try to explore your own country a little more, or even just your own town – how well do you really know your own hometown? Take a notebook and pencil with you and jot down any thoughts or ideas that pop into your head during your explorations. Take photos. Start a blog.
Help out at charity organizations or join a volunteer program
– you may not have to go far from home to find a charity or volunteer program that would greatly appreciate the time and effort you can give them – and so what if you don’t get paid to help or even have to pay to join a volunteer program? – you get a chance to work with people you have probably not met before – the same that happens in a working environment, and helping other people (or animals) is always rewarding – you’ll feel good about yourself – and the actual work may give you ideas on what you can do to earn a living later, or ideas on which career path to follow if you haven’t yet decided on one.
Short courses or correspondence courses or short online courses
– Doing a few short courses or short correspondence courses or short online courses may be a good idea whether you are going to be studying further or for a degree or not.
If you are not going to be studying further or for a degree due to financial constraints or due to not passing university or college entrance requirements, you can still do correspondence courses, short courses, or short online courses that do not require much from you in order for you to start them – often not even a matric certificate. Of course short courses, many correspondence courses, and short online courses often cost a lot less than studying for a degree does, too.
Many short online courses cost less than $20 or less than R200. Browse through thousands of online courses at Udemy – all sorts of topics or subjects, lengths of courses, and prices: Browse through thousands of short (or some not so short) online courses: Start learning on Udemy today!
You may not get a degree, or diploma at the end of your short course, correspondence course or short online course, but at least it’s usually cheaper – sometimes considerably cheaper – and you are still learning something that may help you in your future – perhaps with getting a job, or perhaps with knowledge or skills needed to become self-employed or work from home or work online.
Also see Benefits of Doing Short Courses Online
If you are going to be studying further or for a degree, doing short courses, correspondence courses or short online courses during your gap year can serve one, two or more purposes:
You can choose to do courses that are totally unrelated to what you had already decided to study, to determine if there isn’t perhaps something else that may suit you more. If you discover that your interest and talent really lies elsewhere, then your further study subject plans should maybe be changed.
Or, you can choose to do a course related to what you want to study or get a degree for, so that when you start your further studies you have a bit of a head start, already having done some “background” work.
Browse through thousands of short (or some not so short) online courses: Start learning on Udemy today!
South African Adventure Gap Years
South African adventure gap years through places like Quest and Beyond Adventure are not only ideal for those who love the outdoors, extreme sports and being sporty and active, but South African adventure gap years at establishments like Quest and Beyond Adventure also teach leadership skills, teamwork skills, business skills and a whole host of other life skills.
Reading a lot of books
– Reading books can be combined with doing a short course or correspondence course or if you cannot afford the short course or correspondence course at all, or if short courses or correspondence courses simply do not appeal to you, then at least still read a lot of books – choose non-fiction books which don’t have to cost anything or much at all – go to the library, borrow books, swop books, or find cheap books at charity shops, flea markets, auctions, and second hand stores. If you can afford to buy a few books, then do, but keep your eyes and ears open for book store specials and sales.
Always keep a notepad or even A5 or A4 size hardcover book with you to take down notes or jot down ideas – never think you will not forget to take down notes a few minutes later or just write down the ideas later – write them down right away! Perhaps you think of a brilliant idea while reading, but you continue reading and another brilliant idea pops into your head, and then another and another – by now, you’ve forgotten that first brilliant idea, and even if you haven’t, writing down everything to do with that first brilliant idea may take a while, and once you’re done writing about it, you’ve forgotten the other brilliant ideas.
Learning for free on the Internet
– If you have a computer or laptop, and access to the Internet, there is an unbelievable amount of really useful totally free information on the Internet – there’s a lot of useless info too, so don’t use up all your Internet time on a site if you smell a rat – trust your instincts, and rather move on to a site where everything “smells” good.
From reading free information on the Internet, just a few of the things Tony and I learned how to do are: how to design websites, how to do website Search Engine Optimization, how to make money online and how to make money from our websites and blogs – we started working from home in early 2008 and we live off an income we have generated and still generate from reading free information on the Internet, and making that information work for us! We also continue reading information on the Internet whenever we get a chance to, to further our “studies.”
Start a blog and monetize that blog
– Starting a blog and setting up that blog to make money for you, as well as working at driving traffic to that blog can give you a lot of experience with being comfortable on the Internet – and it can help teach you about marketing websites – this could all come in handy when you maybe one day get a website for your own business, or when you assist your employer with the marketing of his or her website, or you can even become confident and experienced enough to become self-employed and offer website marketing services yourself.
– Look for a job. Even if it’s just a part time job or a casual job or waiting tables – this will give you some “work” experience before you decide on doing something else or starting your studies. Even if you don’t get a job, just looking for work, applying for jobs, going to interviews and communicating with a lot of people along the way will give you some idea of what the “real world” is like, and will better prepare you for it when you start giving more attention to finding a job at the end of your gap year (or at the end of your studies if you are going to be studying further after your gap year).
Make Extra Income
– Make and sell something at a flea market or craft market, or make some extra income online by joining a freelance job site and applying for and getting and doing freelance work, by joining and being active on writing sites, by joining a site where you do simple tasks to earn some extra income. There are very many ways to earn extra income.
Do your best at whatever you choose to do during your gap year, as long as what you choose to do is not nothing – it’s pretty easy to be good at doing nothing, but life is often not easy and life is not about doing nothing.
If you haven’t yet realised it, you’re aging, you’ve finished your school years, and it’s time to grow up. It’s time to be brave and do all that you can to make sure your future is good, and that you are able to earn an adequate income.
Money isn’t what can make you happy, but at least it will help keep you clothed, fed, and comfortable. Just how well clothed, how well fed, and how comfortable, is up to you.
© Copyright Teresa Schultz 2011, 2012, 2013