Most of us have been at that point in life when we needed to make a decision whether to enrol in college or take a year off. Some people decide to start college right away because of parental pressure, the fear of time running out, or simply because they want to continue learning right away. However, there is nothing wrong with taking some time off to unwind, have fun, and improve yourself by doing things that don’t include sitting over a book for hours. Thus, if you’re looking for ways to gain new valuable experiences, here are some ideas to get you started.
Sign up for classes
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to dance or speak a foreign language but could never find the time, now you will have plenty of it. It doesn’t matter what you decide to learn, as long as you enjoy the whole process. With that in mind, look for the sort of classes that interest you in your city, and don’t hesitate to sign up – you’ll get to improve your knowledge, meet people who share your love for what you are learning, and add something valuable to your CV, which will definitely come in handy later.
Face your fears
You cannot gain any new experiences if you’re afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone. Your fears are what’s keeping you from living your life to the fullest, so use your free time to conquer them. Take baby steps – start with something small and move on to scarier things. You might feel nervous at the beginning and it might not even go so well, but eventually, you will feel much more confident, and stepping out of your comfort zone will become an adventure rather than a nerve-racking ordeal.
See something new
Whatever you decide to do during your gap year, make sure to spend some time traveling as well. It’s a great way to see new places, get familiar with different cultures, and broaden your own perspective. If you’re looking for something more organized and entertaining, there are fantastic schoolies in 2018 that are guaranteed to help you recharge your batteries after all the studying. Moreover, you don’t even have to go far if you’re just looking for that feeling of seeing a new place for the first time; if you live in a big city – explore it; if not, go to the nearest city and see what it has to offer. Getting to know your own environment can be just as exciting as traveling abroad.
Surround yourself with the right kind of people
Great experiences often come from knowing great people, so make sure to surround yourself with friends that make you feel good about yourself. Don’t waste time on people who have no plans in life and are not interested in anything – after all, you are a reflection of the people you spend the most time with, and those kinds of friends won’t improve you in any way. Therefore, focus on those who share your interests and have similar aspirations in life, as they are more likely to support you, inspire you, and understand you.
Some of the best experiences come from within, so use your free time to change your own habits. For example, try to spread kindness by doing one helpful act every day – feed a stray dog, give your old clothes to charity, help somebody carry their groceries, etc. You will feel much better about yourself, and as you start turning it into a habit, you will also notice people reacting to your actions and treating you with the same kindness that you show them. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but the point is that you can make a difference, as long as you keep a positive attitude.
Taking a year off is not the end of the world, as there are many ways in which you can use the time wisely and gain valuable experiences that you will cherish for life. Think about what you really want to do – travel, spend time learning something new, make new connections, or just relax. As long as you’re enjoying yourself and doing something productive, it will be time well spent.
Isabel F. William Body&Mind Balance Consultant. Lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.