Skip to main content
11 answers
10
Asked 656 views

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

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

10

11 answers


2
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Don’s Answer

I think you have a pretty great checklist to keep yourself busy. Give yourself time to reset and recharge before embarking on a long career in the working world. It's great to have a six-month break, but make sure you stay sharp. Volunteer your time, maybe using your field of study to help others in some way. Find some good books or blogs about your chosen profession. Don't forget that while your schooling may be over, learning should be a lifelong pursuit. Best of luck!
2
2
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Matthew’s Answer

Hi Nicholas, I was in your shoes six months ago when I finished up my masters program in May and had some time allocated to traveling, which was unable to happen with the pandemic, before I started working full time in October. It seems like you have a good approach to identifying what exactly it is you want to do with your free time. The first piece of advice I would offer is to enjoy your down time and spend it with people who make you happy. Even though this time may not be spent doing what you initially anticipated, it is a golden opportunity to improve your network and personal relationships.

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!
2
2
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Jon’s Answer

Wow, what a great challenge. How about this...

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!
2
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Mariam’s Answer

Yes, due to the pandemic travel seems unlikely, but during your free time you could do countless things while stuck in quarantine. You could volunteer vitrually and help your community and not only be a big help in your community, but you can learn new skills that you can add to your job. You could brainstorm and write a book, or look at the world around you even though it is a littke tough for everyone right now. My point is you could find so many things to do while waiting for another big chapter in your life. Write your own story, create your own chapter before the bigger parts of your life happen.
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Henry’s Answer

I strongly suggest using the time to continue to learn more about your new company; especially due to the pandemic. Additionally, it would also be a good time to focus on your hobbies and/or just establishing a routine that will help you be ready when you start your new job.
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Kimberly’s Answer

If I was in your shoes, I would be doing what you are. I was going to suggesting hiking or exploring historic areas and museums in your area if they are open. I wish I had time for reading myself and want to learn a new language. I definitely would take the time for new hobbies like cooking classes. If you can find some volunteer opportunities in your career field that would be great to help expand your knowledge. Even outside volunteering is good as many companies encourage their associates to do so. My company actually uses the information as part of the RFP process for contracts, and for our annual bonuses. I would also use the time to organize myself, clothes, and in my case home office.

Best of luck to you!
1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Terence’s Answer

Since Covid conditions won't always be around, I'll give my advice factoring that in/out.

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!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Nicholas! I would probably spend time with my family, exercise and gain strength in my stamina, keep volunteering as well (it may be hard due to the pandemic to be in person) but maybe you can tutor students online especially with remote education being difficult for many people, practice Spanish online via Duolingo and read! Personally, I love to read so I would want to read as many books as possible! Enjoy this time off but try to stay active as well so that when you do begin your job it doesn't feel too weird being engaged after all this time off!

Best of luck!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Monica’s Answer

Learn a new language!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Sunny’s Answer

Hi Nicholas,

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.

Good luck!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

lily’s Answer

I've sort of had this experience as someone in quarantine. I would strongly suggest using that time to explore the world, be curious with options that interest you. Here's a list of some fun things:

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
0