NUST Admission

How to best use your gap year

With the recent announcement of the Cambridge results, having to take a gap year can be one of the most stressful situations to be in, especially when everyone else around you might be getting into their favorite universities. You might find yourself overwhelmed by regret over past choices or stress over future options. But these things take your focus away from what is in your control: your present.. Here’s how you can plan your gap year to be even more productive than your peers who have gotten into university.

Gap year explained

Reasons for taking it

If you decide to take a year off after your A-Levels or your FSc. exams are complete, then you are taking what is known as a gap year. There may be various reasons for this—maybe you could not score the grades you expected or the grades your desired university requires, or for a bunch of any personal reasons, you might think that taking a gap year is the best option for yourself.

The possible effects

First things first, as a student taking a gap year means delaying a whole year before joining university. Of course, this means that their career trajectory may be pushed one year into the future. The shallow way to look at this would be that you will graduate from university a year later than you would have, join your first job a year later than you would have, or that you might waste a lot of time compared to your peers.

The optimistic view

We believe that every student has their unique set of strengths and weaknesses. Even if you take an extra year to find out what yours are, that is completely okay because in the long run, success depends most on realizing your strengths and developing them to shine out from the crowd. Even in the short run, this can translate into several key tactics to set yourself up for the future.

Retake your exams

reading
A gap year is also the perfect time to explore your talents and try something you’ve always wanted to but never had the time. Always wanted to learn how to draw or maybe animate a 3D character? Pick up online courses to help you explore these passions and even become quite decent at them at the end of the year. You should also take this time to learn a few important skills that’d help you live independently like cooking and driving if you don’t already know how to do them by now. Check out our article on the most valuable skills in today’s world:

Learn a skill

reading
A gap year is also the perfect time to explore your talents and try something you’ve always wanted to but never had the time. Always wanted to learn how to draw or maybe animate a 3D character? Pick up online courses to help you explore these passions and even become quite decent at them at the end of the year. You should also take this time to learn a few important skills that’d help you live independently like cooking and driving if you don’t already know how to do them by now. Check out our article on the most valuable skills in today’s world:

Strategically plan for the future

It is important to put things into perspective about what a university degree exactly means for you. While enough people realize that the right degree might help them unlock the future of their dreams, what many people don’t understand is that getting the wrong degree may lead to a spiral of wasted time and effort. Use this time to think about your priorities, career interests and passions, and who knows you might make a lot better choice than you would have, had you gotten into university this year.

Get some hands-on experience

Another great way to spend your year off is to go out and gain some practical job experience instead of just sitting at home and doing nothing. Your goal should be to try and find jobs and internships that are closely related to the industry you want to work in after getting your degree of choice, but even getting a part-time job as waiter in a restaurant is good enough if all you want to do is earn a little extra money. On the other hand, internships may not pay much, but the valuable experience you’ll gain will put you three steps ahead of your fellow fresh graduates when you’re heading out into the market after completing your degree.

Here’s how to spend your time for your desired career

Medicine

At this stage, most medical students are confused about which area to specialize in as a doctor. You can explore options, talk to professionals in different fields of medicine to really judge the lifestyles and daily routines of every specialization. Maybe spend some time to brush up on your MCAT preparation so you can get into that dream university of yours.

Computer science

reading
As a prospective CS major, you are in special luck, because your field has the greatest scope for exploring subfields and careers all from the comfort of your home, as long as you have a computer. Dabble with data sets from Kaggle, code repositories from Github, or courses from Google’s Digital Garage. You can really let your creativity run wild as you explore all the possibilities for your future. You can even begin earning online, and attain valuable experience that sets you up for a fruitful university experience later on.

Business

As an ambitious business person, you might be interested in a vast variety of subfields. Be it finance, entrepreneurship, or marketing, there are just a lot of avenues for you to acquire experience in your fields, that will not only help you get into a better university after your gap year is over, but also teach you real-life skills that university might not.

Journalism

If you dream of winning the next Pulitzer, it will surely be a long journey, but the good news is that it does not have to start once you have joined university. You can start a blog on Wordpress from the comfort of your home, and start improving your analytical and writing skills by looking at daily issues and performing your own research To begin with, a corporate internship will provide great insight into how companies actually work and the processes they follow. If you want to be the next million-dollar entrepreneur, you will not find a better time to work on that startup you have always thought of creating. Even if it doesn’t succeed, the lessons you learn from failure will stay with you for life. Finally, online courses are especially useful for mastering the tools and expertise that is used for marketing and finance functions.

Travel and relax

reading
Just because you were forced to take a gap year because of your bad grades, doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about relaxing every once in a while. Although we don’t recommend you go off on an independent year-long tour to “find yourself” because there are a lot of better things you can do with that time, taking a month-long vacation isn’t too bad of an idea. You might find that reorienting yourself could be just what you needed to come right back on track. Just be sure to come back refreshed so that you’re ready to start working towards a better chance at university next year.
Always remember that you are not defined by your past, but by the actions you take in your present. Comparing yourself to others may only drown you in negative energy, but focusing on yourself will certainly make you a force to be reckoned with.