If you had six months of free time between college graduation and your first job, what would you do during it?
Right now I have the great opportunity of having the months between January and June completely free as I allocated this time to travel and explore between college graduation and my first job. However, travel is looking unlikely due to the pandemic. I'd like to try and find a few things to do that are either helpful for professional/personal development, meaningful or fulfilling, or something generally interesting (something with social capital). Right now, I'm looking at doing some bike trips, reading a book a week, taking cooking classes, and finding some volunteer opportunities. Just trying to brainstorm ideas, and I'd love to hear what you would do if you were in my shoes!
Other interests: investing, entrepreneurship, book recommendations!
#gapyear #gapsemester #postcollege
Anecdotally speaking, I used my "gap summer" to work through the professional credentialing process that I would need for my career, try new recipes from different cultures, spend time outside, and read more frequently. Some of the books that I read and thoroughly enjoyed were "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki, "Sapiens" by Yuval Noah Harari, and "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.
I hope you are able to find this helpful!
First, purposefully put down your cell phone and the tv remote. And then...
Travel to at least one of the great national or state parks we have. Just do it in an RV and stay safe.
Learn to personally cook one amazing meal, completely from scratch.
Help one person, family, community in need.
Learn one new personal skill you didn't have before. Learn to program, or play a guitar, or paint, or fish, or archery, or literally anything you find appealing that you always wanted to try!
Put a $100 in the stock market and focus some time to learn how it works.
Run a marathon, or compete in an Ironman, or Tough Mudder or one of those challenges.
Learn to fight off a fear! Can't swim, what better time than now! etc.
Last but not least, you have 6 months to focus on loved ones. Let them know now as life gets busy very very fast!
Best of luck to you!
Overall, with 6 months off before your job is set to start, I definitely recommend a mixture of productive time and time for yourself. Ideally, you're not at the end of the 6 mos. and saying "I wish I did this..." when you had the time. Once you're working, a 6 mo. block of time is pretty rare, so you should definitely take advantage of it. A blend of productive time and time "to explore" would be how I would spend my time.
Productive time could be reading, learning (online, self-taught), researching your new company as someone said, networking, or joining some professional groups on LinkedIn. Pencil in time on your calendar so that it's dedicated, stick to the routine as much as you can. It's easy to get sidetracked.
For your own time, travelling is the best option IMO. Seeing other areas or cultures around the world add to your own experiences and has the tendency to change points of view. Even during the pandemic, I would say to get creative and explore other cultures however you can. Road trips, camping, or whatever is permitted are great as options. As a hiring manager and having coached a fair share of people early in their careers, I've always found people that have travelled a bit to be more well rounded individuals.
Again, a 6 month (or even 1 month) block of time is pretty rare once you start working. Use it well!
Best of luck!
It is great to have some free time before your first job. I would try to use some of this time to take online courses that might be helpful in your field down the road. You can probably research what you will do for your first job, then the question becomes what part do you want to improve more? It is always good to have strong excel skills and know how to multi-task at work and there are some free courses online that will get you to where you want to be. Personally, I spent some months to pass the certified exam and some of the other months to take online courses (2-3 hours a day) that help me get used to the work environment. I think it was great to have my learning routine while I am still having fun with my family and friends, so it feels like I could be productive during those times.
1. write a book
2. go to Coursera/Yale OpenCourseware and learn a new subject from college professors at top universities who have released their lectures
3) Try and launch a business/startup
4) service to others, learn a language, fundraise for charity
5) relax, spend time zooming friends and family