Lately I have been in the process of making a pretty scary decision (scary for me, anyway!): I am embarking on a gap year. I would be lying if I was saying that this was planned, that it was always my dream to take a gap year after university. The truth is, I didn’t find anything I really wanted to do once I graduated. I researched countless master degrees around the world, looked at hundred of graduate jobs, and even applied to some, even though I didn’t really feel passionate about them. I was reaching a dead end, it seemed like there was nothing in this world that I wanted to do for a living.
So I’m taking a gap year, largely for the cliche reason of “finding myself”. There are two things that I feel very passionate about: travel and writing. I plan to focus this next academic year on these things. I already have some travel plans in place (including places like Thailand, Curacao, and hopefully Hawaii!), and I’m aiming to get some serious writing done in these places. I plan not to only document everything on this blog, but to also extend my freelance portfolio, and if I’m feeling really inspired, even start on a book I’ve been wanting to write for ages.
For a while I wasn’t happy with taking a gap year, mainly because it made me feel a bit like a failure. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to do a masters or graduate job, and that therefore my only option was a gap year. Part of the reason I felt like this was because almost everyone around me seemed to know exactly what they were doing. People were getting accepted onto courses and training schemes, attending countless interviews for jobs (and being successful), and all in all, just seemed to have their whole lives figure out. And then there was me.
I’m now in a very different place. I feel blessed that my future is wide open, and that I have the freedom to take this year to (hopefully) figure out what I want to do with my life. Other people have signed contracts for the next five years of their lives, and at such a young age. The reality is; I’m a 20 year old university graduate, and the last thing I want to do is tie myself down to something I don’t 100% want to do. I want to be able to follow my passions when I am still young and able, and do the boring necessary stuff later.
I realize that I’m fortunate to be able to do this with the next 12 months of my life, but I also think a big part of it is willpower. I know a lot of people that want to take a gap year or something similar, but let societal of family pressures stop them. I have one advice for such people: WHO CARES! This is your one and only life, and you have to take control of it. Do the things that make you happy, that you love, and live your life with a full and open heart.