Traditional education, to some extent, has stagnated our growth in areas like real-world experience, exposure, confidence, conversational skills, and most importantly — how to learn and unlearn fast.
I have experienced this throughout my school life. We learned about everything from cells, rocks, volcanos, and animals to history, gravity, and algebra but never actually saw or used anything in actual life.
With rapid development in technology, no one knows what to expect in the future. No job is secure, nothing is 100% predictable, and the pace of development is just going to increase.
But one thing is for sure. If you can’t learn to learn fast, you won’t make it.
After high school, there is only one option set by society: College. This was unacceptable to me. I did not want to spend the next 4 years the same way I did the last 18 years of my life. So I took a gap year, and the pandemic made it a much easier decision both for my parents and myself.
Live the Life You Always Wanted
These last few months have allowed me to carefree try new things, not possible when you are in school. I gained a lot of experience and general knowledge; observed a lot of different people and various lifestyles which helped me picture the life I want to live when I grow up.
I experienced these lifestyles by traveling to various places, Yes! Even during COVID!
I went to the most expensive hotels, hostels, villas, tried different cuisines, stayed in cheap hotels, broke some rules, got robbed, helped my friends roll some joints, went to beaches, and now my plan is to travel alone for a month.
Some days I worked a lot, and other days I was a total waste man. I watched tons of anime and movies, but also wrote blogs and made videos.
Travel is essential because you get to see new things, meet new people, learn a lot, and just have fun. Don’t stay in expensive hotels or eat food in chain restaurants because you can find them anywhere. Stay in local hotels or hostels and eat local food.
I would not recommend travelling if you have any health problems or family members in your house with respiratory issues. Do These Things As Soon as You Turn 18 to Be Financially Secure Give a gift to your future selfmedium.com
Make Time to Think
When you are enrolled in a school, you don’t get enough free mental space to think about life and know yourself. You just go with the flow, do what your friends are doing or what you are being told to do by the school — You basically become a robot.
You have an ample amount of time throughout your day, use it wisely. Unlike your school, during a gap year, there won’t be anyone to tell you what to do.
Most of the time you will think of what to do. Just sit/lie down, play some hot low-Fi music, and switch off everything else. Think about what your interests are, what are you feeling at the moment, what you want to be, how you will get there, and then just do what you feel like doing.
You will have so much time and so many options that you won’t know what to do. Just do anything, even if you think it won’t help you in the future, but you feel like doing it — just do it (not talking about wrong stuff).
Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Gap year gave me a lot of uninterrupted time to think about myself, my future, life, emotions, likes, dislikes, and my deep desires.
I realized I don’t want to earn a lot of money but need plenty to change things I don’t like in the world, don’t want to get too famous, don’t want to specialize in one thing, don’t want a particular degree, and don’t want my profession to represent my identity.
It might seem stupid to some because it is time-consuming, but write everything you do in a day. Write all the ideas you get, save the links to good videos, articles, or anything you find useful. I would recommend the Notion app to take notes. It is pretty intuitive and compatible with probably all the devices you use.
If you can, I would highly suggest you start your YouTube channel or/and a blog. It will not only pay you some money, but also help others. You will also learn a lot of new things like filmmaking, writing, photo/video editing, gain confidence, and public speaking skills.
Sharing your ideas publically will allow you to refine them and take other opinions into your equation. It will motivate you to post, research, and learn more because of the dopamine kick. Try not to get fixated on the likes and numbers.
As of this writing, I only have 77 subscribers on YouTube and 164 followers on Medium. Even with such an insignificant amount, I got the opportunity to talk to many people on LinkedIn and got a few opportunities and offers. Just imagine the potential!
You Won’t get this Freedom/Time again
During the whole gap year, just remember that you won’t get this time back. I know I am saying it again, but it’s really important. It is time to try out everything, no matter how stupid it seems. So, Just Do It!
I made my YouTube channel, blog, traded crypto, created my own Rarible token, did dropshipping, created an Instagram page, learned new programming languages, photo editing, illustration, video editing, photography, and how to write.
Do I want to be an artist, trader, photographer, or programmer? No.
Do I like doing these things? Yes.
I could have made more money by specializing in one thing and charging more for it, but that was not my goal. I’ll leave that to 20-year-old me (I’m 18).
The goal was to learn how to learn and unlearn fast, to try new things and get good at them, not the best. Your goals could be different, but just don't sway from them.
Takeaway: In a Gap Year, Do what you like, Do what you never did before; Don’t do what is common, acceptable, and easy.
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