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There have been a few highs but some desperate lows over the past few years. Political turmoils, changes in the natural environment and deeply saddening events leading to the loss of life, have left everyone feeling somewhat uncertain about the future. For some, they see opportunity and purpose coming out of this new state of things – new ideas or a renewed vigour to address issues or defend long held values. Others may have a sense of trepidation, if not fear about the future. This can paralyse some into inaction or encourage a wait-it-out approach to fulfilling ambitions and dreams.

So as someone leaving school this summer, what should you do next? As far as a gap year is concerned, NOW is the best time to take a gap year. Why? Because regardless of what is going on in the world you have more options open to you than at any other time in your life.

A structured year out before university, travelling, volunteering, exploring, training or working, will be one nineteenth of your entire life so far-that’s quite a chunk of time. It will seem like a period of endless days, long nights and full of new experiences. Later in life, a year out will seem to go by much more quickly and you will have many more responsibilities to juggle, giving you less opportunity to go deeper into things that grab your interest. Still worthwhile of course but not something you can plan for easily today.

Understandably you may be feeling pressure of exams, going to university, finding a job and perhaps having to go into debt for the first time in your life. There might be a sense of urgency to start that career ladder, save for a deposit in a house or buy your first car. As important as they are, you do have time to sit back a little, breathe and get off the treadmill for a while. As a result you’ll gain perspective, recharge your batteries and, as research shows, be motivated to follow the studies or career path you feel will be most fulfilling.

Make a positive choice now to take a gap year, rather than regret you didn’t later on in life. Do it for yourself and be the change you want to see in this world.

Gap Year Guide