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Gap Year Fear - Why the Decline?

By Gap 360

Last updated: 31st May 2012

As a young person growing up in the 21st century, you will be completely used to the ominous and somewhat overbearing question of ‘what do you want to do with your life?’ For most, it is a scary prospect, and more often than not, the answer is an uncertain one. With the average grad student each chasing 10 jobs, and only 57% being employed within the first year, where does that leave the rest?

Most people will be in a rush to try and secure themselves onto the career ladder after university, and fear a gap year will do nothing but put them behind others and cause them to miss any job opportunities that may (or may not) come their way. With job application numbers almost tripling in the past 10 years due to harsh economic climate, employers are becoming much more ruthless and careful with the recruitment process – it has become clear that a degree alone is not enough. Though employers will be looking for a certain degree of education, a little something extra, such as volunteer or charity work can give your application a head start compared to others. As you will have been studying for the past 3-4 years, you may not have had the time to gain any hands on experience, but with very few commitments after graduation, this could be the perfect time to do it.

A common assumption about the gap year is that it is spent dossing on a beach, but there are far more productive ways to spend it, and it can provide you with the perfect transition between the freedom of university and the real working world if you aren’t quite ready yet. Whether it be volunteering, working to earn money, or simply broadening your horizons, a gap year can be a fantastic way to further prove your independence, your intuitive skills and your maturity. For instance, if you wanted to go into a career in teaching, there are paid TEFL courses all round the world for you to get your teeth into, so you can earn money and boost your career prospects at the same time as living in a different continent. Sounds tempting, right? If you don’t have a career in mind, try volunteer or charity work, even if it ends up being irrelevant to your future, it shows your drive and independence – it’s all about what you get out of it!

So, there really is no reason to fear the gap year, whether you go it alone or with friends, rather than deter your career progress, it will only give you an experience you’ll never forget and really help you shine on your way up the ladder!

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