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  • Writer's pictureAlmeera Eman

3 common gap year challenges and how to overcome them with CanGap Ambassador Hardeep

Hardeep - 00:00

Hey guys, it's me Hardeep, I hope you remember me from my last video and today I'm back with another video talking about the failures in my gap year.

So I feel like a lot of people when they think about taking a gap year, they think of these successful gap years. These world travels, successful business ventures and all that good stuff and then for some people that does happen but I think a lot of what we miss is that there's a lot of common failures that we all face and today I'm here to talk about these. The ones that I personally face in my situation and how you can solve them if you do face them further on.

Hardeep - 00:37

Ok, so diving the first one is not having a commitment. I didn't have any structured commitment in my gap year. My gap year started in September 2021, I didn't have any job or anything like that. I was just volunteering and I was working like a few extracurriculars, but it was all pretty flexible, so I was basically managing my all time and you know that sounds good and all but like being discipline during this time was especially hard because there's literally no structure to it and to some extent I think I did OK.

But what I've learned from my past experiences is that add as much structure as you can put in your gap year, it's just good for you. For example, university applications shouldn't take much time and I feel like because I didn't have a job because I didn't have any solid commitments, my university application took way too long. It's called the Parkinson's law, which is basically that your task expands the more time you give it, and because I didn't have a strict deadline, the task just kept on expanding like it was pushing it to the deadline. What I've come to believe is like the only solution for this is like having a very structured thing in your day to day life, like whether it's a job, whether it's daily volunteering, whether it's like taking some high school courses online, like actually going and attending classes, doing something that's kind of keeps your day structured. I think that can be super important and super beneficial, so I highly recommend that!

How this works is that you know, for example, your classes tomorrow at 9:00 AM, you know you'll get this university application done by tonight so you don't have to work for it tomorrow. So I think that that's where it comes into play and that way you have a much more structured year.

Hardeep - 02:26

For me especially, like I normally do whatever task it is, and I dive and like I'm a pretty energetic person, I try to keep my life fast paced and I keep doing things even though they make me uncomfortable in some ways. I think during my gap year what happened was because there was no structure in, there was so much time and my life was not fast paced.

So what happened was like you know I was more in my head, I was over thinking more and what I learned was that I started to avoid some tasks like that made me feel uncomfortable. The thing is that these uncomfortable tasks are most often the ones where you grow. If you always stay in your comfort zone, you don't do the things that you probably want to, or you know that you aspired to that make you uncomfortable, you won’t grow. How you can avoid doing this is by putting structure in your gap year, whether it's a job or volunteering opportunity and in that way keep your life fast paced. The more fast paced, the more sense of flow you get. So like you know whatever it is like you do chores at home for example. Even if you do that you get a sense of flow that kind of builds and proceeds into your next task.

So even if you're uncomfortable doing certain tasks, like for example me writing a scholarship application like I'm avoiding that, if I just do something that gives me that sense of flow it gets me working. I proceed on to that task and I get that done quickly.

Hardeep - 03:55

To be honest, I know after the pandemic everyone thinks that we need some relaxing time but honestly your gap year is a relaxing time but make it a relaxing time in a way that you enjoy it. Just sitting at home and scrolling Instagram, I know it seems enjoyable but it won’t give you that much satisfaction in the long term or during your gap year. So I would highly recommend doing things that make you uncomfortable. Having some structure to not avoid tasks and to keep a fast paced life and gap year in general to stay productive.

Hardeep - 04:35

Another challenge I faced, and this is probably something you expected when you think of a gap year and it's not having enough social attraction. The pandemic itself kind of isolated everyone after that and taking a gap year right after that, it was like a constant 3 years of isolation and I did meet some people here and there. But, you can imagine if your friends are going to university, you're not going to have a lot of people to hang out with.

To be frank, I expected myself to feel a bit of FOMO, but I didn’t. Honestly that wasn't the big issue. The issue was like not having a lot of people to connect with. A solution to this I found is to go to events, go to places, go to seminars whatever interests you.

Be spontaneous! Just go there and find people like it can be through this app called “Meetups”, it can be through this Facebook group called “Yes here.” Go places and be spontaneous and where you would not be because you feel like no matter if you're an extrovert or introvert, you do need some social interaction on your gap year. I’ve learned just how important this is by being so isolated for a few months and I know the crucial importance of this.

You'll find people more easily than you would think. One thing I can guarantee is that I know for certain that a lot of our generation like to talk to people and socialize on Instagram, but it's hard to find people who are like minded on Instagram like at least in my experience. Even if you do, it stays mostly virtual. However, if you can find people on Instagram, then go meet up with them in person. But, try to find more of these groups at seminars instead of online.

Hardeep - 06:04

Next thing I would highly recommend is regulating your dopamine intake and output. To put it in simple words, it's basically steering clear from you know, spending too much time on Instagram and Netflix and all of these things where you are just on your laptop or your phone.

They're not the right definition of rest. They’re good for the occasional recreation and all, but I think when it comes to things like when you're spending your gap year, you need to make it monumental.

Binging Netflix, trust me like a year passes by and you know whatever your show is like Queen's Gambit, you won’t feel fulfilled when you look back on your gap year. You need to do something more monumental so there's that.

Another thing of regulating your dopamine intake is going on walks. It may sound a bit grandpa-ish or something that only old people do, I don’t know who created that bias, but honestly I think it’s the best habit I picked up in my gap year. Going on an 8 or 9 kilometer walk like every day. You don't have to go on that long of a walk but you just go walk without your devices or put your phone on silent. Just let your mind free you for like half an hour or an hour. It makes so much more of a difference, just let your mind wander, just be creative and this has become my meditation for me during my gap year.

Let your mind be free for some time and in this generation where we are constantly bombarded with posts and stories and all of these irrelevant things on Instagram.

Hardeep - 08:28

Those are my three failures of my gap year. I struggled with all of these. I didn’t have a proper job for a long time, but now I do.

Second, you need to meet more people. Initially, I kept myself isolated, but I found my people and went to a lot of different events. I connected with so many people, so many adults who were much older than me and it's just an amazing connection.

Third, I spent too much time on social media and learned it's like how much is important is just, you know regulating this dopamine, regulating this constant overstimulation in your head all the time like and it's such a great thing to do in your gap year.

Those are the three failures that I've learned from a lot and I think it's a hint that you can take to make your gap year more monumental.

Apart from these 2 things, I will also leave some book recommendations because I read quite a bit during my gap year. These are the books that I feel have helped me grow intellectually.

One is Atomic Habits, I'm sure everyone's heard of it at this point, it’s an amazing book when it comes to productivity, habits etc. The second book is called Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers and is for people struggling with anxiety and coming out of their comfort zone. Or just like people not even struggling with that but wanting to do way more. I think it's a great book for you to come out and really conquer your confidence.

That is all about my failures and my advice, I’ll see you in the next video and hope you enjoyed watching this one!

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