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Advice/tips for gap year students?

Hey, I'm an incoming freshman electing to take a gap year due to various concerns. Just curious if there's anything people would recommend -- not only prepare for a successful college career but also as a person in the long run. I'm currently interning in the curitorial department at a museum (since I'm interested in art history) and may tutor some U.S. History if possible.

I'm just worried that I won't be able to write frequently and precisely during my gap year as if I were in an academic setting(English is not my native language, but I went to a U.S. boarding school & college).

Thank you so much in advance for your kindness :))

#gap-year #art-history

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5 answers

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Yuka’s Answer

Hi Chris,

Thank you so much for your question! First, congratulations on making this big decision. Taking a gap year can be a fantastic choice because of the many opportunities that may come out of it. If you decided to give yourself a year of experimentation, you can try to develop personalized plans such as traveling, volunteering, or other activities that show your college of choice that you are growing as a person.

In addition, you can take this time to try new experiences, such as learning a new language, developing a hobby, or simply spending more time with family and friends - be creative! Your gap year could really be a blessing when you look back a couple of years from now.

Taking a gap year is a courageous decision. Just remember than it is ok to take a different college path and there is no rush to achieve a certain level of success by a certain age. Everything takes time before it begins to fall into place.

Enjoy your year of self-exploration! I hope you have an amazing journey.

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Ro’s Answer

I've been seeing a lot of students taking a gap year (Especially international students due to COVID19 and immigration limits), so I commend you for staying busy and interning! I also recommend virtual internships - I'm sure with the current status of many art institutions that many have moved their services and opportunities online. Doing multiple internships would be a benefit to you - and maybe you can find one where you can submit reports to continue practicing writing.
If you've been admitted to a college, it also wouldn't hurt to reach out to the career services department to inquire about opportunities or leads that they may have for you. In addition, you could seek employment/internship in China that may want to utilize your multi-lingual ability. Best of luck!

Thank you so much for your idea! I just reached out to my college's Career Center and Research/Fellowship Center for some advice and see what they have to say. Despite my lack of experience, it would be valuable to at least do some basic work to familiarize myself with some research methodologies. It was a wonderful idea, and best of luck to you too! Chris Z.

I applaud your initiative! Ro L

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Gina’s Answer

I would recommend raveling, volunteering, extra hours working-- or taking up any hobbies/sports. Thing that you normally wouldn't have time for or may not for years after you graduate. Life experiences can be just as rewarding and educational as in-classroom.

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Ally’s Answer

Hi Chris,

I think the idea of a gap year is great! I wish I took one prior to me starting my undergrad. I think the best piece of advice is to do whatever it is that interests you. Similar to the previous answers to me, it's great to get to know yourself as a person including likes/dislikes about anything from traveling, volunteering, etc. I think the best piece of advice that someone once told me is that your life path does not have to be one continuous straight path and it can move back and forth from time to time. I say enjoy your gap year (as much as you can given the current world) and do what truly interests you. During college, you can do these same things but you also have schoolwork and internships and clubs etc. Then, you find a career and most of your time will be taken up by working. Again, you won't have that true free time of doing whatever it is that you want.

The world is your oyster :) Good luck!

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Elle’s Answer

Gap year should be a fun experience. Take advantage of whatever looks interesting and pursue it. Make connections and keep in touch with them. Don't worry too much about the professional aspects of it, a gap year is a time to learn more about yourself.

Thank you! Just a follow-up question -- I think I'm too institutionalized in an academic setting and really can't get out of it: there seems to be inertia that pushes me to keep learning new stuff and working in various settings (although I do enjoy it a lot -- getting to know different stuff just fascinates me). Is it okay to keep this lifestyle while picking up some hobbies (I've been dancing and learning Spanish!), totally get away from studying and enjoy life, or it's only a matter of personal choice? Thanks again for your kind reply, and I really appreciate it :) Chris Z.

Continue learning as you go along, taking in as much information as you can. Fun can be informative, too. Not everything has to be scholastic to be informative. Life experience matters more in the end than school or work experience. Take a gap year to spend time learning about yourself and what you want to do in the future. Good Luck. Elle Blair