My Other Interests Include

Gap years could be going out of fashion as tuition fees rise and job prospects for graduates fall.  I went straight to uni from high school as did everyone else I knew from school and those I met at university.  Anyone who took a gap year was suspected of not getting in to university and needing to re-sit their exams.

I’m sure my mum wouldn’t have let me go on a gap year like the ones I heard of in subsequent years… a school building trip to Nepal, a road and dam building project in some African nation – she would have looked at me like I was daft and knowing my mischievous mother she would have offered me a gap year in Pakistan with my crazy relatives, no thanks, or even worse she would want to come with me as a chaperone!

Gap years weren’t as big back then as they became but I wonder, did they really provide an edge to a graduate’s CV? I’m not sure that they show skills and other traits better than a plain old summer job in Britain where you wouldn’t have to sponge-wash yourself in melted snow and had access to a telephone.  Perhaps the companies that will lose out on the questionable fees from gap year customers could offer their services to anyone who wants a sabbatical from their regular life but can’t be bothered organising it themselves.


2 Comments to “My Other Interests Include”

  1. I took a gap year after university and I can safely say it added nothing to my CV. I already had a graduate job lined up, so it didn’t really matter. What did matter was that I really needed a break after university, and when I got back to the UK, I was ready to grow up a bit.

    I see no value in going on a gap year before university, unless it is going to help you in your career. I saw too many 18-year-olds taking class A drugs in countries who impose the death penalty for even having those drugs on your body for me to think that they were benefiting from time away. They clearly needed a more structured, parented environment.

    The only exception I would make is for people who have suffered some sort of trauma and need a break. A friend of mine lost her brother in an accident and she found it very hard to focus on anything. Her parents sent her on a gap year, to help her see how fortunate it was to be alive. The charity work that she did helped her come to terms with her brother’s death, and she ended up doing very well for herself.

  2. I see a lot of CVs at my work and everyone travels, it’s almost boring – who doesn’t enjoy travelling?

    However I went travelling with my sister before my first year working and it was great. I did learn a lot about myself and my sister and I will never forget our fab argument in Vietnam, ending with “I’m leaving tomorrow, see you in Sydney!!!!”

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