This week our student opinion panel told us that they are now twice as likely to consider taking a gap year than they were before COVID wreaked havoc, and would potentially put their studies on hold for a year (or more!) by doing so.
Are you considering the same? If so, first off, let us know by joining our opinion panel. Then, as so many of you are considering taking a hiatus, we thought we’d put together a handy list of all the things you could be getting up to during the next year, that sadly may require a sans-travel approach. All while giving you that self-development vibe that Full Moon parties in Thailand do oh, so, well.
Discover the cyber world with a coding course
Coding has exploded in recent years, changing from something that only computer masterminds could get their heads around, to it being used in pretty much every device, electronic item, and application, and it’s a self-taught language for many. Nowadays, people are teaching themselves how to build a blog, an e-store or an app they’ve been dreaming about. And so can you. Coding is a universal language and if you spend your year schooling yourself on how to talk the talk, you’ll be able to go anywhere with that skill.
Talking of languages… Learn a spoken one!
We were all made to take a language in school (and if you didn’t, you were one of the lucky ones) and most of us, to this day, still don’t understand the difference between masculine and feminine words or what on earth a reflexive verb is. It was tough. But now it’s more apparent than ever that employers love a second language on the CV, as do universities on applications. Not to mention the pride you’d feel strutting around the south of France once lockdowns are lifted with a newly-found verbal dictionary to use. Apps like Duolingo and podcasts like Coffee Break Languages could be your new best friends this gap year.
Move to a farm and spend your days picking summer berries
Okay, so it may not be the outback of Australia, picking avocados and negotiating your way into another year living down under, but England has many beautiful fruit farms that require folks like yourselves to spend your days collecting the goods. Google searches for ‘fruit picking jobs’ have skyrocketed by 843% so we’re not the only ones thinking this would be a good option. Here’s one example in West Sussex which requires five months in the fields; maybe you and your friends could pack up your childhood bedrooms and rent somewhere nearby. Talk about living the simple life.
Learn to drive
We don’t need to dive into this one for you to know what we’re talking about. Whether you’ve got a late summer birthday or you just never got round to it due to lockdown, learning to drive is a gift that just keeps on giving. Spend your gap year (well, 20 odd hours of it) on the roads and get yourself that pink license.
Volunteer as a beach lifeguard
Spending the summer on the beach, by the ocean, with likeminded people, getting a sweet tan, with the ability to save someone’s life… sounds too good to be true, right? Nope. RNLI is always looking for new volunteers to keep our beaches and waters safe, and that could be you during your gap year. Learning valuable and transferable skills for when you do want to apply to university or get another job, whilst doing something valuable and meaningful. Dedicate 40 hours to get qualified and then volunteer at a local beach. What are you waiting for? And while you’re at it, what about a first aid course too? Which you’ll be able to take with you wherever you go next.
And there you go, five ways you can fill your gap year with meaningful and useful things to do (and if you’re super dedicated you could probably do them all… Challenge accepted?). Let us know if you’re planning to take a gap year from September and what you’re thinking of doing over at @studenthutuk. And sign up to our panel to have your voice heard by universities and brands on how COVID is affecting your future plans, here.