Avoid These Top 3 Gap Year Mistakes
Updated: May 27, 2022
Beginning your gap year is both exciting and nerve-wracking! At CanGap we want to support you, so you can have a purposeful gap year. The signature Gap Year Gameplan will help you craft your year and keep you on track. Today, learn what the top 3 gap year mistakes are, so you can launch your year with confidence and begin with a plan that will set you up for success.
Mistake 1: Gappers don’t plan adequately for their Gap Year.
Planning your gap year is thrilling because it is time for you to finally unleash all of those ideas and adventures that you have been dreaming of, and making them a reality! However, not planning adequately and overlooking key elements of your plan may become obstacles in achieving your aspirations.
Now, who began their gap year journey by googling “Gap Year Programs”, well, while this is a good start - there is one key step that you should do before anything else and that is goal setting!
Begin by GOAL Setting!
In order to have a purposeful and fulfilling gap year, you need to set goals that you want to (and can!) achieve! These will give direction and structure to your gap year, and you will be able to create a functioning plan to accomplish these goals.
Don’t Miss Key Elements!
The world is moving at a crazy speed, and oftentimes deadlines and important dates fly by. It is important to keep a note of these key dates and integrate them into your plan.
This may include:
Dates for reapplying to post-secondary.
Key Information sessions.
A trip or an experience with a price tag (will you have enough saved up by that time? If not, what do you need to do prior to be able to go on that trip?).
Quick Check-In - Feeling Overwhelmed?
Do not worry, this is natural! For most students and parents, planning and preparing for a gap year is something that is are doing for the first time and for something that is really unstructured, which is why it is crucial to lean on the support that is out there and to get that information and to ensure you are not missing out on any of those key pieces.
The reality is, there is no template to a gap year, and the simple reason is that a gap year is meant to cater to every unique individual - you simply can’t rinse and repeat plans because everyone’s goals and situations are unique. Your journey is based upon:
Why are you taking this gap year?
What are your goals?
What is your personal situation (residency, finances, health restrictions)?
This is why there is no one-page document for planning your gap year. You need to be guided along this process with reflection and research on your end.
The best part is, the Gap Year Gameplan is a one-stop-resource for planning, executing, and staying accountable throughout your year. We will connect you with resources, a network of peers who are also taking gap years, and experts to guide you on your journey.
Mistake 2: Gappers not building a community while on their gap year
While your gap year may be full of exciting experiences, in the absence of friends, community, and people who get it, it can feel isolating. However, that is not the point of a gap year. We want you to move forward, invest time into yourself and have these incredible adventures, but you do not have to do it alone. It is important to be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through because you are experiencing something very unique.
Take an active role in making friends!
Reaching out to others, networking, and building relationships with people who have similar goals and interests as you will help you a strong support system. Furthermore, connecting with different generations will expose you to unique perspectives and help you gain a greater insight into the world. The Gap Year Gameplan is what brings people together, the people who get it, who understand the struggle that you go through, by surrounding yourself with like-minded people will help build beautiful friendships.
Mistake 3: Lack of Accountability
The very last thing you want to say at the end of your gap year is “Wow I really missed out, I could have done so much more with my time”.
We understand that it is difficult to go from a system of being in school, where we have a routine, we have deadlines (projects, tests, end of units), and all of a sudden to go from having so much structure to completely no structure can be overwhelming. However, the key is to stay organized, motivated, and committed to your plans.
There will be days where you will lose that motivation and this circles back to the goals that you have set for yourself and remembering the milestones that you need to hit!
The Gap Year Gameplan has 7 pillars. Think of them as guidelines for your gap year. You are able to track your progress, be awarded with badges, and have access to valuable resources!
What are the 7 pillars?
Gap Year Planning: The first (and most important!) step - goal setting! Additionally, finding experiences that will set your gap year for success.
Self Discovery: Investigating questions like Who am I? How do others perceive me? Who do I want to be perceived as?
My Wellness: Exploring the elements of holistic wellness. This includes the things you need in life to be physically and mentally well in order to be resilient and knowing what tools you have in your toolkit, so you can use them at the appropriate time.
My Future: Figuring out who you are, where you want to go, future pathways and careers.
My Finances: Understanding the relationship with money! How will you be financially well and be able to live the life you want to live?
Independent Project: At this stage, you will take all of your skills and interest and combine them to make the world a better place in some way. Your project will be based on one of the UN’s sustainable development goals (there have been some very cool projects that have come out of this)!
Mentorships: Finding a coach, mentor, or someone that will help you bring clarity in all of those other pillars.
In the end, it will be a powerful moment to look back at your gap year and see all the things you achieved. Your goals, friendships, values, and above all - your personal growth!