Take a look down that path. A perfect setting for a very autumnal walk. Maybe you could do some thinking along this route too. Possibly about the lead up to starting university and making the biggest decisions of your life. If you already know and love what you have planned for the near future – Fantastic! Though, if you are like me and wish that there was some sort of personal brake pedal – so you can, you know, take time to contemplate/admire/panic about your surroundings – a gap year may be for you.
1 – It’ll be ok: Taking time out after years of studying can be daunting – what are you going to do now? Will I be able to get onto the right course? How will it all fit into my plan? Loosening the reins on the plan will help immensely. This time is for you to feel secure with yourself before figuring out the rest. There is no point in building a schedule if you aren’t 100% sure you will be able to complete any of it.
2 – This is the time to do what you want: I don’t mean to make this sound ambiguous but feel free to embark on new adventures – travel, find a part-time job, volunteer, take up a new hobby, and even reinvest energy into old pastimes. Finding time to enjoy yourself is important as you fell refreshed and ready to take on the next task.
3 – Plan now! So you’ve taken the time to relax (or not), figure out your short time goals. These are the things that you aim to complete in less than a year. Whether it be to improve interview techniques, learn to cook, or simply to become more informed about the world around us. Once there are locked in, have a little think about the long term goals. Have you got university on your mind? Is there a particular course or location? Now is the time to really think about these choices and the wider picture – will you be happy and fully invested in studying, or are you wishing to pursue a forgotten interest a little further? Whatever your decision, now is the time to have a good think about it. Grab some coloured pens and paper to map out all of your ideas. You can always review it later on or elaborate further.
Some sixth forms and colleges skip over these options until it’s deemed ‘too late’. You have already sent in the UCAS form and preparing for the end of compulsory education. Though, it isn’t truly the be all and end all. I was 4 months away from finishing A Levels before taking a step back to see what I really wanted. However, a ‘personal’ gap year (not necessarily travelling but focusing on you) can really give an insight into what you truly want to do. So consider your options. Take a gap. Or, don’t. It’s up to you, just as long as you take your happiness into consideration.