The benefits of a post-uni gap year
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After several years of compulsory education, it's understandable that many feel the need to take a year out. However, for those who decided to go straight to uni after sixth form, that does not mean that you've missed the opportunity to take a well-deserved break.
There is often a lot of undue pressure on knowing exactly what you want to do after university and having a post-graduate job or master's course set up for when you graduate. Just as some need to take time out to decide whether to go to uni or which uni to go to, it's equally as valuable to take some time out after your degree to decide what you want to do with the life ahead of you.
You get to avoid the 'gap yah' student stereotype
The generic idea of a gap year is that you travel around Thailand finding yourself and then tell all of your new uni friends about it while wearing harem pants and reeling off facts about Buddhist philosophy. While this can certainly be a valuable experience for some people, for those who go to university straight away, the whole 'finding yourself' thing often takes place as soon as you are plunged into the independence of university life.
By taking a gap year after university, you will already have matured and discovered what you enjoy and will perhaps be more open to trying new things and making the most of your year off.
There's still so much to do
Things you could do on a post-uni gap year include: interrailing, transcontinental travelling, volunteering, or working abroad e.g. completing a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course and then teaching abroad. As you will be older and more experienced than you would have been before uni, you may feel more comfortable about going outside of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences. Plus, having a degree might make it easier for you to find work abroad in order to fund your travels.
You'll make the most of it
For many people who travel during gap years before uni, it is their first taste of independence and being away from home. This means that sometimes travelling can become a big booze-up, and other experiences might be missed out on or taken for granted. As it is likely that a lot of your heavy drinking days will be left behind at university, you might find yourself having more time to immerse yourself in the culture of the places you visit.
Time pressure is less
Unless you have a job lined up for after your year out, another benefit is that you won't be constrained to doing everything you want in just one year. This means that if you find a job or a place you really love, there is nothing stopping you from working in Cambodia for a couple of years, or moving abroad even after your 'year out' is over.
A post-uni gap year can be a great time to discover your passions and to finally have the opportunity to pursue them without time constraints.