Student Life

What is a gap year?

Published by Afterschool.my on Jan 13, 2017, 06:19 pm

With all the hoo-ha over the incoming implementation of a gap year in Malaysian institutions this year, some of you may have been left scratching your heads wondering what all this actually means. The rest of you may have already planned to do absolutely nothing but binge watch Narcos, Westworld, Sherlock and Suits, coupled with a bag of your favourite crisps for company. Therefore, we at afterschool.my thought we would enlighten those of you who don’t know what a gap year is, and crucially, help you help yourself, by suggesting the best way you could fully utilise this absolutely amazing opportunity.

What is a gap year?

A gap year originated in the UK during the 70s to aid in student’s international experience

A gap year is an experiential semester, typically taken between high school and college in order to deepen practical, professional, and personal awareness. Gap years originally started in the United Kingdom in the 1970s as a way to fill the 7- or 8-month gap between final exams and the beginning of university. The intention in the UK for that time was to contribute to the development of the student usually through an extended international experience.

What is the purpose of having a gap year?

 

A gap year is a great opportunity for Malaysian students to gain some leadership and life skills

With definition of a gap year out of the way, let’s get down to the important bit. Why is this a good opportunity for Malaysian students? This is because in recent times, many fresh graduates have been found to lack leadership skills, and coupled with a desire for an absurd figure as a starting salary, has been a glaring Achilles heel in the pursuit of success, for both the individual and the nation. A gap year is quite important then. The question then becomes, how should you spend it?

How does a gap year help you?

In college and universities, students focus too much on academia that they often neglect their character development. Good thing is that a gap year can help improve it.

Obtaining life skills would be ideal for a crowd of people who have been found to lack leadership abilities. Why do fresh graduates lack certain life skills? It’s easy to blame the student for not trying, but perhaps he/she was caught up with the hustle and bustle of trying to complete their degree, which involved, among other things, completing a multitude of assignments on time, finishing projects and ensuring there weren’t any glitches or hiccups, keeping in touch with their family wherever they may have been situated, getting enough sleep to keep their sanity intact, and then remembering that sleep isn’t a luxury they could afford because of that exam the following morning.

 How should you spend a gap year?

Other than working in McDonalds or Starbucks, students can choose to intern for a job related to their course of study during their gap year

In short, college/university life would’ve been hectic, so while a student may excel when it comes to the theoretical portion of most things, they lack life and people skills, which counts for quite a bit during interviews. Now imagine having a year to gain that very experience that most fresh graduates lack. Not only would it improve their methods and the way they conduct themselves in college, it would better prepare them for life after graduation, as well as build their character.  Students could take it one step further, and rather than getting a temporary job as a barista, that would be quite glamorous and bring in the money, they could instead find an internship in the line related to the subjects they intend to pursue. This would enable a student to find out if they like a certain job or subject ages before enrolling in it, preventing the now common occurrence of students regretting choosing a certain course.

A gap year is a good opportunity to think about your future

Think of your future first before going out to have fun

In short, a year off is an undoubtedly amazing chance for students. It’s then up to them to embrace the chance with open arms. Sure, it would be amazing to travel the world for a year, or keep going places for the whole duration. We aren’t saying don’t have fun. It just pays off to think ahead and plan for your future first, before ever stepping on a plane to fulfil your wanderlust dreams, in a way much more valuable than any form of currency could compare to. 

Do drop us a question if you’re ever confused, or need a little guidance. Read about a course you’re interested in, or the career in would entail. We at afterschool.my are always ready to help.

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