How to Make the Most Out of Your Gap Year

By Xiyona Gosain 2021-04-07 12:35:12

Taking a gap year was not initially part of my 10-step plan to adulthood, but here I am, living through my free year as I gear up for university. For many of us, it is hard to talk about our year without referring to the obstacle that masked us from creating memories and living normally. Attending university was one of them. It’s safe to say, if it hadn’t been for COVID-19, I would have bid my farewells to Shanghai and would have probably been crying over my midterms right about now. Although it was a decision forced upon me, I do not regret taking time away from school and would recommend it to every high school senior.


Putting yourself out in the real world before you commit to a specific major allows you to explore your interests. It serves as an internal checklist, making sure you’re studying what you want to. Getting job experience gives you an insight into your desired career and the bonus of putting it on your resume. Shanghai Family was that platform for me. I was able to expand my current interests through a real-life simulation before entering the job market. While I interned at Shanghai Family, I was able to experience the life of an editor and an illustrator. The time I spent at the office taught me the value of my skills and the importance of socialising with people outside of my comfort zone. I do believe this would benefit me when I attend art school soon. Find something that really resonates with who you are as a person, and that will be the push you need when you’re feeling down. 


Now, I would drop everything and travel to Seoul for three months for a study programme, had it been any other year. Although I wasn’t able to, assuming flights return to normal, do not miss out on the opportunity to travel and study abroad. Getting out of your comfort zone allows you to grow individually and teaches you independence, which will help you for the rest of your life.


Want to learn how to build an app? Have you always wanted to learn a language but just never found the time? A gap year is perfect for you to indulge and explore beyond your current interests. It is consequential to keep an open mind and exude self-awareness. Without teachers, counsellors, or essentially school, it is easy to get side-tracked and lose motivation. 2020 taught me the significance of adaptability. It is important to be self-disciplined as each activity one undertakes during a gap year helps build you as a person. I recommend getting out of your comfort zone, socialising, and getting experience in both your field and work that ignites the passion in you. 


It’s ironic as the name, a gap year isn’t missing out on life but a chance to enhance yourself as an individual. 



Xiyona Gosain, 18, longing to attend university soon, has been in Shanghai for as long as she can remember. She’s often found with paint on her clothes, getting creative and crying over Adobe software.