A gap year can afford you time to more fully explore career options, clarify values, and develop skills for the career path you would like to pursue. We often get the impression that getting a full-time job or going immediately on to graduate school are the only post-grad options. However, taking a gap year after college can be a very worthwhile or even necessary experience. During that time, you may spend part of your week earning income, and other parts of your week engaged in internships, intensive volunteer work, research, informational interviewing, etc. – experiences that will allow you to develop skills, perspectives, and networks relevant to your future.
Even though you may be eager to finish school, you might also have a sense of anxiety about life after college. Perhaps you still don’t have a clear idea about what you want from a career, or have not yet been able to secure a full-time job. Despite the fear that everyone else has a job or knows the direction they want to take, the truth is that many new graduates are still in the exploration stage or skill-building stage when they cross the stage at graduation.
Trying new things and meeting new people can expand your horizons and give you new perspectives on your personal strengths, interests, and skills. Most organizations value applicants who have significant experience outside of the classroom, and the perspective that comes from living outside the supports of college life.
If you are having difficulty securing full-time work, volunteer or internship experiences can help you continue to build skills, as well as your professional network. Developing or improving on these valuable transferable skills is a 'positive' to most employers. A recent graduate who makes the most of their gap year experience appears motivated and resourceful, so give it a try!