Last August, I graduated with a degree in Psychology. Although I absolutely loved my course, after a year of tough exams and thesis deadlines, it was a relief to be finished. But I didn’t get to relax in the glow of graduation for long; the tricky question was looming, the one I’m sure every recent graduate is tired of asking themselves: What next?
There can be a lot of pressure to have your future figured out as soon as you leave university; sometimes it feels like everyone around you is already moving on in life, moving up the career ladder or getting masters degrees. In reality, everyone is on their own path, and what’s right for someone else might not be right for you.
I personally decided to take a year out of education, rather than plunging right back into a masters degree, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. Here are 5 reasons why I think taking a year out is a great idea.
1. A fresh perspective
Think, for a moment, about how long you have actually been in full-time education. Chances are, you started school when you were about 4 years old. That’s 8 years of primary school, and 5/6 years of secondary school. Add 4 years of college and that’s almost 18 years of full-time education! If you’ve been in school/college for as long as you can remember, then it’s probably worth taking a year to see what the ‘real word’ is like. A year in the working world might offer a new perspective. College can be a little bit like living in a bubble; you are surrounded by people who all think the same way as you, and all have similar values. A year out will give you the chance to meet new people, engage in new perspectives and try new things.
2. You have time
Whats the rush? A year out is exactly that: One year. When you find the right career for you, you could be in that job for 40+ years, so there’s no need to rush into a career right now. Enjoy your early twenties, they won’t last forever.
If you’ve been lucky enough to study or work abroad, then great. If not, this is your chance. A lot of recent graduates experience conflict over whether to travel, or stay home and begin their career. Realistically, you are never going to be less tied down than you are right now, so best to grab opportunities if you can. Take that internship abroad, work as an Au Pair for the summer, or go for a spontaneous weekend away with your friends.
4. Learn a skill
Taking a year out of college may mean you have more time and energy to invest in other things; for example, you might like to learn a new skill, or even rediscover some old ones! You might like to learn a language, pass your driving test or even start a blog. Why not now?
5. Earn some money
You might want to take time to save up some money. Maybe you want to fund that postgraduate course, or start saving for a car or a trip with your friends. Taking a year out of education gives you the chance to work full-time and save a bit of cash.
So, those are my top 5 reasons for taking a year out of University. I obviously can’t make the decision for you, but if you’re not sure what your next step should be, taking the year out after school or college can really do a lot of good. It really isn’t a year wasted.