For me, taking a gap year was something I wanted to do, but was loaded with huge risk. I knew I wanted to travel, but an entire 12 months seemed a like a very long time. I finally decided to take a ‘gap summer’; essentially, doing all my travelling in one of my breaks between University years. I think it was the best decision I ever made, and here’s why.
You won’t lose your motivation for education
One concern that I had was that if I spent too much time out of education, I’d forget why I wanted to do a degree in the first place, and end up not wanting to do one at all. Either that, or I’d totally forget the English language and never be able to read a book or write an essay ever again. A summer gives you enough of a breather to get back into it, but not so long that you can’t remember who Shakespeare is (or Pythagoras; whatever floats your boat).
Another worry was what it would look like on my CV. Regardless of my own personal reasons, what would potential employers think? That I’m indecisive? Lazy? I could do everything I wanted to in the three months in between University years, and that way, I have to make no excuses.
It’ll be fine-tuned
If you’re taking a gap year, with a whole 12 months stretched out in front of you, it’s easy to sit back and think: “Oh, I’ll book that trip in a couple of months…” Next thing you know, six months have whizzed past and you’re still wiping tables in a grotty pub and have done next to sod-all. If you have to cram all of your travelling into one summer, you’ll need to be organised to get it all sorted.
As you have less time, too, you’ll be forced to make sure your experience caters for your needs exactly. For example, I wanted to ensure that I got some kind of journalistic experience whilst travelling, so I wrote a daily blog – I wouldn’t have bothered keeping that up if I was away for more than a few weeks!
You won’t run out of money
And here’s the bombshell: even if you have saved up for a while, and plan to visit more affordable countries, if you’re like me and want to do… Well, everything, you will run out of money a lot sooner than you think. Cram it into a summer and your bank balance will thank you for it. And if your student loan is around to help you out a bit, even better.
Would you rather have a gap year or a gap summer? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo: Sian Elvin