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The Rife Team

Please Mind The Gap


Amy discusses the gap year. Is it worth it? What should you do if you take one?

I don’t mean a year spent in the store GAP, as I think they throw you out at closing time.

Hello again approximately young-ish readers. I don’t know if you can remember this far back, but I once wrote an article about university options, and now a similar theme does lurk. The gap year – and no I don’t mean a year spent in the store GAP, as I think they throw you out at closing time.

Is anyone else planning on taking a gap year? If so I bet you have glorious plans, don’t you? I’ve heard of people getting ready to travel across Europe, go ride elephants, work in ski resorts, or take a well-deserved year-long nap. Well that’s great and all, but what about those of us who don’t know what we’re doing yet?

I know what you’ve done. You’re guilty of having spent months focusing on your exams, then suddenly they’re over and it’s like…. What now? You’ve been so focused on revising cards and so forth that you couldn’t spare the time thinking about life AE (After Education). It can be daunting (I know from experience). So what are we to do?

Well here seem to be the most popular ways people spend their year of paradise:

Work abroad
Go to young people things eg. concerts
That’s about it

But those aren’t the only options. You can also set yourself some smaller goals. Why not do the things you’ve always wanted to but not had time for? Like learn a language, or read all those books you were recommended, visit places in England you’ve heard of, dye your hair, take up new hobbies. This time belongs to you! However if you do yearn to do those big things like travel or work abroad, it might be wise to do your research. I myself am quite fond of the book ‘Your Gap Year’ by Susan Griffith. Plus there are a multitude of websites dedicated to gap year plans.

…how may we write with the full palette of human life?

Also remember, everything is an experience, and not always a good one. I’m sure everyone has their minor gap year disasters; getting lost, realising you just spent a month playing Mario Kart, or taking a picture with an exotic animal which just now decides to try and eat your favourite hat. Yet all these help to make you a more well-rounded person (read Aristotle’s virtue ethics for more on well roundedness). Plus if you’re a writer like me then I like to believe that we need to get out in the world and experience a wide range of things, or else how may we write with the full palette of human life?

Do I think gap years are a good idea? Well that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Perhaps ask me again in a year. Right now… I’d have to say yes. It’s the first time you can have some time out from education, and perhaps really find out what you want to do in life, and go on an amazing journey – and all that jazz. It may seem terrifying, but don’t let that put you off.

Honestly there’s so many opportunities in and outside of Bristol. In the words of that guy in ‘Tangled’, go, live your dream. And please if you have any cool ideas about how to spend the gap year, do tell us, and together we may just figure it out.

Are you taking a gap year? How do you decide what to do? Do you even want to go to university? Let us know: @rifemag