Here’s the last 4 reasons why you should take a gap year!
4. Get Qualified
A gap year isn’t just a year to waste away in hostels. It’s a year for you to get some experience and qualifications.
Get your TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate or your Dive Master scuba diving License. Learn some new skills while volunteering on a farm in Australia or gain work experience while working for a winery in France. Learn how to cook at a restaurant in India or guide English tours through the pyramids in Egypt. I have personally met somebody who has done each of the things I have mentioned. All of them are always employed and happy because they’re doing what they are passionate about.
These types of qualifications and experience(s) will definitely make you stand out in any pile of resumes or school applications.
Use your gap year to build your resume, gain qualifications and increase your experience.
5. Expand Your Comfort Zone
At home, in your daily routine, you are pretty comfortable. The older you get, the less likely it is that you will break out of that zone or expand the things you are comfortable with.
That’s why your parents won’t go to your favorite Japanese restaurant or why your uncle thinks deodorant will give him armpit cancer and refuses to wear it.
A gap year is an awesome time to stretch your comfort zone to the limit.
Meeting new people, navigating foreign places, communicating in foreign languages, eating strange foods and sleeping in new locations will totally force you to expand the things you are comfortable with.
Why would you want to do that? You want to do that so you can experience all of the great things out there.
If I didn’t live in Japan, I would probably have missed out on all of the amazing sushi places I have eaten at. I wouldn’t have the Japanese friends that I have or be able to speak Japanese. If I never took a year off to push my comfort zone, I probably never would have traveled to the other places that I have been to or experienced the things that I have experienced. If I never went to Japan, I doubt that I would feel confident getting up on stage speaking to thousands of students at a time.
Pushing your comfort zone makes you a stronger, more confident, capable person.
6. Learn About Yourself
Sometimes we are fed the same thing everyday that we actually start to believe it and even worse, we think it’s the only thing that exists.
Imagine living a life where everyday from the day you were able to eat solid food, you ate a bagel for breakfast. Even if you go to a restaurant for breakfast, the only thing available on the breakfast menu was a bagel. I am sure that you would think that’s all that exists and you would probably even like it.
But imagine one day after years of eating bagels everyday, you stepped into a restaurant with a different breakfast menu. You open the menu and there are eggs, sausage, hash browns, and pancakes. French toast, crepes, Belgian waffles, donuts, croissants and a ton of other delicious breakfast foods. You would go crazy!
I bet that after you tried a few of the other breakfast foods you would find that you don’t even like bagels.
You have probably heard the same things about yourself for your entire life. You’re so clumsy, you’re so stupid or you love working with people, you are so good at math, etc. You’ve probably heard these things so much that you believe them.
By taking a year to yourself, you are opening a whole new menu, a menu of YOU. You will learn about the things you really like. You will discover what you are really passionate about. You will learn what you are really good at and what you really want to do with your life. You’ll finally get the chance to learn about the most important person in your life, YOU!
7. Decide on a Direction
The best part of your year off is that you will come home with a plan.
You will get to take what you learned from your experiences, your new friends, your qualifications, your new comfort zone and your new knowledge of yourself, to decide what you want to do.
You can use this new information to decide what school to go to, what to study, where to live, what kind of work to do and who to hang out with.
A gap year isn’t to be wasted. You need to treat it like education. You are heading out to learn a whole bunch of stuff that no school on earth could possibly teach you.
Use the things you learn to push yourself ahead. Use it to show other people what’s possible when you leave the comfort of their own home and most importantly use it to create the story of your life.
Taking a year off was the best decision I have ever made. Because I took that year off, I met some of my best friends. I became inspired to see this amazing planet we live on and most importantly, I’ve been able to use the experiences I had to inspire tens of thousands of young people to Make Their Own Lunch.
If you are considering a gap year, here are some good places to start:
Gap Year Blogs
My gap year (the name of the blog, not actually MY gap year)