Thursday, 21 April 2011

Life as a Gap Year Student...

image from

I don't know how it is over the border but here in the UK - between College and University many 18 year olds choose to embark on a year 'out' before carrying on their education. Gap Years also occur during University years, or even after University before getting a 'real' job in the 'real world'.

Ok, so you could say I've not gone for the traditional Gap Year activities. I'm not travelling the world, saving pandas from extinction or walking with lions in Africa. I'm not building schools or mud huts for the less fortunate and I'm not riding elephants in India. My backpack is firmly in my wardrobe collecting dust.

I was in fact, not planning on having a Gap Year at all.

I love education and being in that environment. I hate the thought of having a 9-5 job and a mortgage. So when my Uni dreams came crashing down around me, and I found myself on a course I despised - the thought of no education terrified me. So I leaped on to my 2nd choice course (Photography) asap - which turns out is September 2011.
Leaving me with a good 10 months to do real world things!

I had no money saved up, no exciting plans and was lucky to have my part time job.

Instead I am trying my best to make this unexpected year really count....
I'm working 2 nights a week and saving as much as I can.
I'm gaining crucial work experience in a local photography studio.
I'm jetting off to the USA to see my sister and see a little more of the world.
I'm getting excited about starting fresh this September and I'm preparing myself for hard work.
I'm practising my photography skills as much as possible.
I'm blogging and enjoying having my own outlet to share thoughts/ideas/passions.

My Top Ten Tips for College Leavers:

  • Choose your University wisely, think of location, reputation, course specifications.
  • Choose your course wisely, do what you enjoy, do what's right for you not for your bank balance.
  • Don't follow your friends, make your own way and your own decisions.
  • Be prepared to make mistakes. Don't be afraid to admit to yourself/parents if you've made the wrong decision, moved too far from home, changed your mind.
  • If your having second thoughts, act on them as soon as possible. Time is money. Really
  • If you decide to take a Gap Year planning is important. Save money first - don't expect to arrange everything when everyone has started their degree, start planning while your still at college!
  • If Uni is not for you and you want a 9-5 job earning money 5 days a week then go for it, Uni is not for everyone. 
  • Don't let the fees/debt put you off if its something you really want. I know so many people who gave up on getting a degree because they were scared of the debt. 
  • But on the other hand, don't be too liberal with your loan - its for your basic living not for your nights out! The more you save now the less you'll have to pay off in the end. 
  • Be prepared to work harder than ever before!

Is anyone also having a Gap Year right now? Or planning one for the future? How are your University applications and plans going?

I'm going to be concentrating on doing my three years before I even think of taking another yearly break. I think if I save and scrimp throughout my degree I may choose to do that 'backpacking around Europe thing' that all the kids are raving about!



  1. I'm just about to finish my time at university and know what you mean about the 'real world' I'm so scared and as much as I moan, a world without education depresses me! At the moment I'm thinking of taking a gap year to decide what the devil I'm going to do with my life! xsx

  2. I loved reading this, reminds me of me- I had a gap year before uni in 2004-2005 and worked at the start then went to Ecuador to help the less fortunate.. :p I went to my first choice uni even though I wasn't that keen on location in the end, and now I'm in a dull 9-5 and dreaming of another gap year. Enjoy yours as much as poss :) xx

  3. Im on a gap year too (not one that i planned either). Which uni are you going to after summer?:) x

  4. I'm in my first year now, and the thought of hating my course terrified me, luckily I enjoy it and I'm sure you'll love photography :)

    I think your advice is perfect, too many college students are pressured into thinking that going to university is their only option, and that its no use taking a gap year, or getting a job straight away. Life decisions are scary enough without the pressure!!

    Really great post :)

  5. Such a lovely post, really managed to reassure me. I've applied for fashion after re-sitting my last year of A-Levels. As if re-sitting wasn't enough to get me down, I found out this morning 4/5 of my choices have rejected me :'(.
    I guess it's a bit of a blessing in disguise because I was beginning to have doubts about wanting to do fashion even though I know its what I love most to do.
    Think a Gap year might be the thing for me to gather my thoughts and figure out what I'm going to do. My minds a bit all over the place atm. :)
    Again loved the post, can definately relate & some great advice ;)

  6. I finished college in 2007 then went straight to work I travel 2 weeks out of every year its not every one cuppa but it works for me. Today I have registered with The Open University to study my BA (Honours) in History. I am so excited I have always wanted to study for a degree I am study to be a History Professor and I can still work so everything is good.


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