Are you an academic type? Are you a hands-on type?
Regardless of which bracket you fall into, there are many arguments to suggest that taking a bit of time to explore the world and open yourself up to all manner of different cultures and ways of life could be just as important as gaining a degree or qualification in a certain vocational field.
Let’s look at a few reasons why taking a gap year out can be just as valuable as education.
A gap year gives you time to know yourself
If you’re constantly stressing about coursework or dissertation deadlines, or cramming revision for exams into a short space of time, you’re missing out on the point of life. Bit deep and meaningful, but bear with it. Taking a year out gives you time to reflect, think and find out what it is you want out of life. Half the time we never really understand where we’re going, or even where we want to go, but having the time to experience different parts of the world can open up your mind, and from that you may just find the answer to a problem or conundrum you never realised you had.
Travel opens up your mind and broadens your horizons
There is nothing more valuable to be taught than understanding other cultures and religions. A gap year allows you time to travel, and not just on package deal holidays, where you won’t see much in the way of local life. Actual travel, real nitty-gritty stuff, means you will meet people you would never have come into contact with before, and from that you can learn their values, language, cuisine, religion, and culture in general. There is no better education than that.
Volunteering to give something back
Many people choose to volunteer during their gap year, for at least some part of it. Whether this is helping build shelters and schools, wildlife conservation, teaching children, or some other guise, volunteering means you are giving something back, and there is no better sense of fulfilment than helping others. This also has the added bonus of helping you grow as a person, and gaining more understanding and compassion. This is something no textbook can teach.
Revaluating your goals
You might have set your mind on a path in life, but unless you really test it out, how do you know it’s the right one? Take time out and think about it, do something useful with your time, see the world and experience it for all it has to offer. Your path might look a little different at the end of it, or maybe it won’t, but at least you’ll know it’s the right one.
There is no textbook for life experience
Finally, the most important point. You can learn all about a certain subject, you can understand it until the cows come home, but there is no replacement out there for life experience. Seeing things, understanding things, meeting people, and living life to the full is just as important as that dream job, or that high salary. Life skills are invaluable, and taking a gap year out is the perfect way to hone them to perfection.