What to do During Your Gap Year in the Age of Social Distancing

Padya Paramita

What to do During Your Gap Year in the Age of Social Distancing

Whether you’ve already been admitted to college, or you’re a high school senior distressed by the state of the world, you’ve weighed the pros and cons and decided that you don’t want to immediately start undergraduate classes after graduation. Now, you don’t want to sit at home and watch Netflix all day either. You’re here because you are wondering what to do during your gap year, especially since we’re still quarantined for at least the first half of 2021.

If you haven’t applied to college yet, and plan to do so near the end of your gap year, many schools might ask you in their supplemental essays or interviews how you spent this time off. As a result it’s best if you have a product of your time to show—whether you spent it skill-building or helping your community. If you’ve already been accepted by colleges, you’ve already demonstrated your capabilities to admissions officers. However, you might still actively be wondering about what to do during your gap year simply to continue pursuing your passion or create something tangible. In this blog, we’ll go over a few ways students can spend their gap year while safely staying at home or social distancing in the light of the pandemic.

See What Your Local Community Needs

Two of the biggest things colleges appreciate in their students are leadership and community involvement. Admissions officers know that you are stuck at home due to COVID-19. They want to see how you’ve taken advantage of your resources despite the situation. As you consider what to do during your gap year, think carefully about the people and place around you. What does your community need during a time like this, and how can you even tie it into your field of interest? If you’re an aspiring teacher, you can start a tutoring service where you host Zoom classes for children in your area. Or, if you’re headed to college as an engineering major, why not investigate your town’s infrastructure and and plan out a new road or device that might solve a current lack? You’d also have the chance to coordinate with the authorities and other members of your community, therefore building your leadership and collaboration skills.

Conduct Research 

If you’re a student who likes investigative projects, you might be interested in spending your gap year conducting research. Research doesn’t only have to mean scientific exploration. If you’re a biology enthusiast or aspiring physicist, of course having research under your belt is wonderful. But even if you’re planning to major in something different, like economics, you could delve into learning about the economic growth of your parents’ town or an area you’re interested in and write a paper that captures its evolution in an in-depth manner. You could also form a research team and host weekly meetings on Zoom to go over your findings. 

Start a Creative Project

If you’re a creative-minded individual, there are so many options for what to do during your gap year. Dream of writing? Self publish a book or start a blog. Enjoy playing music? Record an album. Passionate about art? Create a portfolio. Love movies? Make a film. Perhaps it is for those interested in the arts or communication that social distancing might benefit the most, because almost every possibility can be achieved from the tools you have at home. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, now is the time to do so. If you’ve always wanted to start a podcast, now is the time. Or, you can continue building your artist’s portfolio and even start a website for yourself. At the end of your gap year, you’ll have something incredible to show for your efforts. The world is your oyster!

Learn a New Skill

As you’re wondering what to do during your gap year, if you have access to the Internet, you have the chance to learn any skill that you haven’t been able to pursue previously due to lack of time and pressure from schoolwork. Now is the perfect time! If you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, go ahead and watch video tutorials. If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, it’s time to download Duolingo or Rosetta Stone and get started on your journey. A year is plenty of time to pick up a skill that you can then highlight in your applications.

Take Advantage of Online Resources

This goes hand in hand with the last point. The Internet is vast—there are endless online resources that can help you figure out what to do during your gap year. If you still want to continue learning, you can take online courses at one of the many universities that offer them to students at various levels. If you’ve been making videos, you can dedicate time towards learning how to successfully start a YouTube channel and make a real career out of it. Or, you can read up on the latest news on stocks and start investing yourself!

Start Your Own Company

Finally, if you’re a student with an entrepreneurial mindset, if you’re thinking about what to do during a gap year, why not start your own business? Think about a unique product or service that can improve the lives of others and is genuinely in demand and start working on it. Alternatively, if you wish to pursue a more altruistic route, you can always start your own nonprofit. A gap year gives you the time to properly brainstorm your idea, recruit team members, and get your organization up and running. If you’re applying to business school, having your own company will look fantastic on your application and help you stand out from other applicants.

Deciding what to do during your gap year during a global pandemic isn’t easy. But, it’s also understandable that you would rather wait for classes to fully start operating in person before committing to an institution for four years. In order to continue the momentum in your application profile during your time off, pursue a gap year initiative that can allow you to continue building your skills or specializing in your field of interest. Hopefully, when you’re ready to go to college, you’ll have some impressive things to show. Good luck!

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