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If you take a gap year what are some suggestions on what to do while on that break? (I'm into coding, video games, and editing)

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Subject: Career question for you

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Christy’s Answer

Travel! See as much of the world as you can, experience new sights and cultures, eat new foods, meet tons of fascinating people that are different from you, expand your horizons. Getting real world experience will broaden and deepen you as a person, and this will be vital in the years to come.
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Julio’s Answer

Hey Emely!

It seems you're interests are related to fields that are in very high demand, which is awesome! During your gap year, I would recommend you do some research on what kind of career path you want to pursue, whether it be software engineer, video editor, even video game designer; never leave any options off the table.

Try and find which subject interests you the most and think about whether they fit the lifestyle you want to live in the future and if you believe you'd be happy working in that field for the next 20-40 years (hopefully less of course; early retirement). Once you find which field you feel is best for you, focus on improving your skills as much as possible, but also ensure you don't spend too much time on it every day since it may lead to burnout before even starting school or a program. Make sure you make time for yourself, enjoy your gap year, but don't forget to work towards your goals; the harder you work, the easier it will be when you enroll in a program of your liking!

Out of the interests you stated, I am most familiar with coding, so as an example let's say you chose that to be your interest of focus. I would suggest you find as many free resources to help you hone your coding skills more, such as, freecodecamp.org, codecademy, general assembly's free course, and Youtube of course. As you become more comfortable with your skills, start looking at programs that may interest you and that you feel you have a good chance of getting admitted to, start applying as soon as possible to better your chances and don't forget to apply for financial aid!

Finally, just have fun! Your gap year may seem stressful because you may start to feel regret or a sense of being behind, but trust me when I say that taking a gap year, whether it be for mental health, financial, or educational reasons is important and will not hold you back. Instead, just focus on yourself and enjoy it!

Good Luck!
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Kirk’s Answer

I would use the time to explore possible career paths.

If you need to learn the basics of coding, video editing, etc then I would follow what Julio said above. A couple of additional suggestions would be to check out Udemy.com and consider buying a course or two when they go on sale for $9.99. In order to expand your net and possibly build some valuable relationships, you could also look for a Meet Up or another group that gets together to discuss areas you are interested.

If you already have intermediate level skills in your area of interest, I would look for an internship in an area that is near the area you are interested. If you can find an exact match that's ideal, but an internship in a related area could still be quite valuable.

Any time you're looking for a role, existing relationships can help you get your foot in the door. If you start asking parents, relatives, friends, etc you may know someone who works for a company that could use some help and their recommendation can help you get an interview.

If you already have a job, the company you work for might be able to help you.

If you're at an intermediate skill level, another way to get some experience would be to sign up with a project contract site like Upwork.com. You could start with simple projects and build your skills as you take on more complex projects.

In my opinion, the value of this exploration is two-fold:

1. This exploration can help you identify areas that you enjoy as a hobby, but do not want to do as a career. This will help you make sure you get a degree in a field you will want to work in.

2. If you enjoy the internship/contract work and decide to proceed with a degree in that area, you've already started to build your resume and that experience will make it easier to get additional internships and/or your first job after graduation.
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Patrick’s Answer

Some inspiration regarding "the power of time off": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNuOmTQdFjA&t=283s

Contribute to some open-source coding projects on GitHub and build up your activity on GitHub. Later, when you apply to coding jobs, you can share your GitHub profile URL and the employer can see all your work as a portfolio. There are hack-a-thons that you can find that help accelerate your contribution and can also get you a t-shirt, like: https://hacktoberfest.digitalocean.com/

Check out the Roblox platform and see if you'd be interested in creating a video game to earn some money. If it's a successful project, it could be a cool project for your portfolio.

Travel!
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