One of the Gap Year Research Association’s collective findings on a gap year described that, students who take a gap year are more satisfied with their jobs. They understood their priorities and themselves better. According to the Higher Education Research Institute’s survey in 2018, 3% of high school graduates take a gap year before going on to attend university. Obviously, after the onset of the pandemic which has led to uncertainty and distress, more students have started considering this option even in India.
Should You Take a Gap Year?
Apart from facts and findings, it is essential to understand if one really wants to take a break in the form of a gap year before going ahead. Evaluating the consequences not only gives the desired result, but also keeps you prepared for everything. How do we evaluate the consequences?
Firstly, the question to ask yourself is: “Why do you want to take a Gap Year?” There could be several reasons ranging from taking a break due to stress or just simply to just finding your purpose to redefining your goals to even just spending more time with your parents. Some other commonly seen motives are to prepare for higher studies or to take up part-time work to find a better suited role. The answer is not so important as long as you are convinced with it.
The other side of the coin are the cons of taking a gap year which would be different for everybody. If a workaholic is enduring one, it could be difficult to not be very occupied and drowning in work. Although this is not really a disadvantage, there would be an initial hitch to adapt to the new situation. It is vital to have some sort of plan after a few weeks of lazing around so that one does not feel like he or she has wasted time and procrastinates later.
Of course, if there is a health issue that needs to be tackled before getting back on track, addressing it with a break is helpful. Easing out of it with baby steps would eventually boost confidence levels and help the healing process naturally.
Why should design graduates think about this route?
Moving on to design graduates, I believe that it becomes more essential to think of a gap year and the exciting opportunities and experiences it could bring. Apart from thinking about the kind of design path a student wants to pursue after a gap year, he or she could also dream about the other professions that are possible to give a shot at. The career paths that design students can pursue are writing for an Architectural magazine or just any firm’s website, freelance work, User experience design, Construction management, a business-based path, Industrial design, and so much more. It really depends on how creative you can get with your life.
Combined with the heavy workload and little time to think for yourself, it is tough to figure out interests and dislikes in the profession itself immediately after throwing your graduation caps in the air. Again, taking a gap year is not quintessential as this article may seem as though it is. A gap year does not have to be dull, tepid, or lack-luster. It does not even have to include expensive beach vacations in an exotic country. It can simply involve going to a nearby destination and enjoying the peacefulness, and culture of the place without a concrete plan.
As design graduates, we have unique and varied ways of dealing with burdens of college and life. Some indulge in sweet treats with velvety chocolate while others resort to talking to friends or going to the movies. Apart from worry during college, there’s anxiety that is related to the future. “What do I do next?”
Although I will not be able to address this question, there are possibilities that I can list out. The common options are going for higher studies or working on a payroll that is not sufficient for the daily gulab jamuns or pav bhaji we all desire to eat. The other bet is preparing for the civil services and thinking of going along that path.
If you assumed that I would end it there, then you are mistaken. There’s more. When in doubt and distress, take a breather and unwind. After giving it a week or two join a volunteering organization or just take a walk in the park. Do something for yourself and your health and not as part of academics or some long-term stressful career goal. This is a form of meditation and helps a person understand a new side of life.
There would be phases during the gap year where you would feel suffocated or constrained. Allow those thoughts to come in and then indulge in something positive. Gap years can be taken not just to relax, but also to learn new things and study a different topic which might just get you hooked and lead you to an unventured territory.
- Forbes (2020). Gap Years for College Students can Increase Job Prospects, Study Shows. [online]. (Last updated 17 September 2010). Available at: Gap Years For College Students Can Increase Job Prospects, Study Shows (forbes.com) [Accessed 04 July 2021].
- U.s. News (2020). How a Gap Year Prepares Students for College Apartments. [online]. (Last updated 10 June 2020). Available at: What a Gap Year Is and How it Prepares Students for College | Best Colleges | US News [Accessed 04 July 2021].
- Gap Year Association. Gap Year Research, Data, And Benefits. [online]. Available at: Gap Year Research – Gap Year Association [Accessed 04 July 2021].