If you’ve taken some time off after high school and you’re ready to head to uni, it can often feel overwhelming. For the most part, you feel like you’re seriously behind, especially if your friends are halfway through their studies (or finished!). What you don’t realise is that your gap year will be a huge asset to not only your academic success, but your social success as well. Universities such as RMIT in Melbourne have over 350 courses for you to consider and have recognised how valuable your gap year is, allowing you to apply to their uni directly by harnessing everything you’ve learnt. Here are some of the most valuable learnings I had, after taking a few years off to ‘find myself’.
1. You’ll figure out what you actually want to do
There are a lot of people who go to uni straight from school with no clue what they want to study. They pick something for the sake of picking something- which often results in students dropping out of uni or changing degrees. This is fine, because they’re figuring stuff out… but what we forget is just how much that kind of change is going to benefit you. You’ll still have to pay for that semester that you didn’t like, or the subject you failed. Giving yourself some time off to work or travel for a bit will give you the time and space to figure out what interests you in the world. You’ll meet fascinating people who are working in organisations and in roles that you didn’t know existed in high school. This will expand your understanding of a career and help you make a better decision when it comes to uni.
2. You’ll value learning more
Going to uni straight from school works for some but not for others. For some, it’s back into the same kind of thing high school was- late nights, study notes and assignments- and that can get really overwhelming. When you have a break, you realise how much joy there is to be found in learning, maybe a joy that high school kind of squashed out of you during ATAR time. When you decide to head to uni after a few years off, you’re more than just neat-handwriting motivated, you’re like a do-all-the-readings motivated.
3. You’ll be more mature
Not that you weren’t mature before, but life experience will give you perspective, and new perspectives give you wisdom to handle everything from stress to anxiety to benders.
4. You’ll have real-world experience to draw from
Come at me uni discussions! With time to travel and work and meet different kinds of people, you naturally learn things about the world that you may not have learnt about in high school. This really enhances your ability to converse with peers, and to understand some of the examples mentioned in readings.
5. You’ll have a rejuvenated work ethic
When you’re ready to head back to uni, you’re making that conscious decision yourself. You know it’s going to be hard work, but you feel prepared to put the effort in. This will drastically impact your results because you’re entering motivated rather than jaded.
6. You’ll have more confidence
It can be hard work meeting new people. If you’re heading to a university or doing a course where you don’t know a single soul, finding a support network can be tough. A gap year allows you time to meet new people – especially if you’re travelling, so that the idea of sitting in a room with complete strangers isn’t totally terrifying. You’ll be more outspoken because when travelling or working, speaking to strangers is an incredibly important component.
If you’ve taken some time off and you’re ready to head back to uni, you can browse over 350 courses and find out how to apply directly to RMIT in Melbourne here. If you’re considering a gap year and you know uni will be on the horizon later, feel okay about the fact that universities will value whatever you get up to – be it travel or work, and that it will only serve to benefit your uni experience.