Before I start let me give you one piece of advice: take a gap year.
Take at least one year off. It will not kill you, you will not end up career-less. You will finally have time to think and to take a breather, so before I get into this, again, take a gap year!
I’ve always been a bad organiser. Getting my life together has always been quite the task. When there’s a million things going in your head at once, it can be hard to decide a specific path for yourself, especially when you’re on a gap year. You have the option to travel in a million different ways. You can pursue a passion as opposed to a degree or traditional study pathway. Or, you can just do nothing at all.
Doing nothing is what some may refer to as a ‘waste’ of a gap year, and not-so-surprisingly, they’re usually wrong.
First off, the word ‘waste’ is completely subjective. A free-thinking musician could think that pursuing economics is a waste, whereas an economics major could think pursuing music is for hooligans. An extrovert could think that staying at home on a Friday night is a waste whereas an introvert could think not valuing alone time is a waste.
Everyone is different which is a great thing, but more often than not, the word ‘waste’ is thrown around by people who can’t step outside their own experiences and beliefs.
Travelling is a path people may take on during a gap year and rightfully so. Travelling is one of the best things I could’ve done in my gap year and I recommend it profusely.
However, just because travelling during a gap year is common, doesn’t mean it should be referred to as ‘normal’. If you don’t travel during your gap year for whatever reason, don't stress. There is so much value in just living through a year without the stress of study or pressure to make some big life decision. If travelling is your thing, go for it, just don’t think the alternative is of any less value.
Finally, there isn’t anything to worry about even if you do think you’ve somehow wasted your gap year.
All throughout our lives we've been drilled with the idea that our career is on a timer and that if we're not at the peak of success by 25, our life will dwindle away into mediocrity and meaninglessness. But it's a lie.
One year of doing nothing will not kill you. It will not affect you in some gigantic way. It will not be the be all and end all of your life. Having a year off was truly the best decision I’ve made in ages and while I had no plan of what my year would be like at the beginning, the unpredictability of it all was so goddam exciting.
Take a year off. Do nothing. Do everything. Do whatever you like and don't buy into the idea that you're wasting your life.