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THINGS TO DO IN YOUR GAP YEAR

By Victoria Ntuli
THINGS TO DO IN YOUR GAP YEAR picture

Often gap year is associated with failing and is associated with not being engrossed. When you tell someone that you have taken a gap year their first reaction is shock followed by the why question. Why are you not going to school? What are you going to do at home? Do you have any idea how frustrating is to stay home doing nothing? Each individual asks you one of those questions,  it can be your family, friends, neighbors even strangers.  As these questions flock in, you start questioning yourself is gap year a bad thing? have I made a bad choice? now you start having regrets. Why didn't I work hard in grade 11 to get marks that will take me to varsity.? Why didn't I apply? why didn't I see a need of going to school? why didn't I believe in myself? Why wasn't I lucky to get a bursary while some received it? as these questions keep flowing you blame yourself you start thinking that life is not fair.

Trust me I have been there I have experienced that. I have made a lot of bad choices while in a gap year to a point where I registered for a course I barely loved in some private college but hey I don't want to dwell much into that but the point is we all have different journeys. Now let's think of the positives. I realized later in the year that my attitude is ruining the experience of gap year so I changed my mindset and told myself that I'm going to make the year memorable.

A gap year should be fun, it should be enjoyed and memories should be made. I consider taking a gap year as being fortunate at least you get a little break from 12 years of continuously going to school and studying.

THINGS TO DO IN YOUR GAP YEAR

1. Reflect
Before you can think of things you can do, the first months of your gap year you should reflect. Reflect on your childhood, you reflect on your high school days. What type of a child you were? were you the quiet type, the genius, the public speaking type, the nerd, or the sports lover? Reflect on the subjects you loved, reflect on those days where you could not wait to attend physics, days where you were excited to experiment.  Reflect on what you loved and what you were passionate about at school. Reflecting will help you find a career you should follow.  Truth is, in high school, we can be in a dark about the actual careers we want to follow. You can find yourself planning the same career as your best friend because you want to be in the same university or you want to one day work for the same company. The reality about career choices is that it is a personal decision that needs to be made solely.  You don't have to follow what your friends follow or do. You should choose a career that suits you. After reflecting I promise you, you will find your dream course/career which you will apply for.

2. Volunteer
It's no doubt staying at home can be boring so to keep busy it is advisable to consider volunteering at a local clinic if you are into health, volunteering in schools if you are into teaching, volunteering in old age if you like working with old people. Note, this is not about getting payment but it is about getting experience in the field you want to venture into. This can include volunteering in a local radio station, a local newspaper company, and a local spaza shop if one day you which to run your own business. Take such opportunities as a learning experience and most importantly pushing time because it beats staying at home doing nothing. Remove the mindset of getting compensation while volunteering but if money is what you want, you can consider starting a business or getting a part-time job.

3. Start selling
You can sell Avon, Inuka, table charm,  you name them. This will, of course, give you exposure to working with people and will give you social skills. At least by selling you will be getting something because low income is better than not receiving income at all. The small amounts of cents you get can help you with application fees and making copies of supporting documents. 
Do anything legal, it can be doing people's hair, selling cooked food, or selling baked biscuits to bring cash that will help you save for registration fee because we all know registration fees are steep.

4. Do a short course
As much as a gap year is perceived as a bad thing, a gap year can be a perfect opportunity to do a short course that is related to your interests. Let's say you want to pursue a career in office administration, doing a short computer course (Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) can be a benefit because you will be one step ahead when you finally begin your diploma or degree. You can do a short course on baking to help with your side hustle so you can sell scones and muffins on your gap year. Find your passion and do a short course based on what you love. Short course duration range from 2 weeks to 1 year.

4. Be a tutor 
Remember, I mentioned that you need to reflect on your high school days and see what was your favorite subject or subjects. Once you know this you can provide tutoring services to grade 12 learners in your community, at least this way you will be getting income from tutoring learners. The good thing about tutoring is that you don't need to only tutor grade 12s but you can tutor primary learners and help them with their homework. You can request that they come to your home or you can go to their house. Note that when you are tutoring primary learners you need to be cautious about many things because their safety comes first and since you will be with them you need to ensure that they are safe in your hands and you ensure that they reach home safe if you decide to run the tutoring service at home. Should anything happen you will be held accountable.  Don't have late-night sessions to ensure the safety of your learners.

5. start a youth programme
If you are passionate about helping the community perhaps you can look into starting a youth programme. It can be a cultural programme where youth especially teenagers are allowed to portray their talents such as drama, poetry, music, and dance. Giving teenagers this platform will take them away from the streets so that they have something meaningful to do with their lives. This will help develop and polish their skills. For your programme to grow you will need to be in touch with other nearby community programmes to allow for competitions between the two communities. This will build excitement and make the youth look forward to something great.

6. Read/write
The best way to enjoy your gap year is to read. Reading helps in reducing stress and will help you from thinking a lot. By reading you will empower yourself with knowledge that is why I always emphasize researching and reading articles. All the information Is there it just needs you to reach out and find them. You can read for different purposes it can be to push time where you read love stories, novels, and magazines and you can read newspaper articles and blogs to learn about what is happening around you and the world. If you don't know where to start you can start by reading stories for free on https://live.fundza.mobi/ Reading and writing go hand in hand, reading will motivate you to start writing your pieces as well. It doesn't have to be a novel but you can start writing your thoughts down in a diary and you can write a to-do list of things you want to achieve in your gap year. Who knows maybe you can find your hidden talent in writing.

7. Start a YouTube channel
Start a YouTube channel to connect with the online world. To start a YouTube channel you need to provide viewers with content. It can be any content you are confident or comfortable to present. It can be content about fashion, music, cooking, baking, make-up, etc. That is why I mentioned that you need to reflect on what you like and what you don't like. In that way, it will be easy to present content to your audience. For your YouTube channel to be a success you will need to have a good camera or a phone with good camera quality to shoot videos. Don't feel discouraged at first when you have a few followers eventually your channel will grow and when the channel grows you will start earning money. Do more research on how and when you can start making money through a youtube channel.

These are all suggestions. There are so many things you can do in your gap year, do an introspection to find your passion so that you can discover things to do in a gap year. Don't be hard on yourself and feel like you have to take action in a gap year. If you feel like helping around your home is ideal for you then you should be doing that.

To Happy Gap Year🥰

AcaNet ❤

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