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  • Writer's pictureAlmeera Eman

Gapper Series: Making the decision and making the most of the year with Nazra Noushad

Updated: May 27, 2022

When Nazra Noushad asked herself who she wanted to be in 10 years, she determined a gap year would help her become that person. In this episode, Nazra shares why and how she chose to take a gap year, how she told her mother, the opportunities she had and how her real world experience has set her up to thrive when she goes back to university.

Why she chose a gap year:

In her junior year, Nazra spent a lot of time reflecting on what she wanted to do. She asked herself these questions:

  • Who do I want to be in 10 years?

  • Where do I see the world going?

  • What part do I see myself playing in the world?

  • What impact do I want to make on the world?

After answering these questions and realizing she wanted to have an impact on the world, Nazra explored different degrees and programs that were available to her, but nothing enticed her, she felt like there was a gap missing.

How she chose a gap year:

The status quo is to go to university right after high school; taking a gap year isn’t a popular choice here in Canada, but Nazra didn’t let the status quo weigh on her decision at all. She was focused on what would be the best path for her and after 10 minutes of googling, she understood what a gap year could look like and her decision was clear.

How to discuss taking a gap year with your parents:

Nazra’s parents immigrated to Canada for her to have a better education, so a gap year wasn’t an option in their minds.

She wanted to have an open discussion and really help her parents understand her decision process, so she took them through an exercise she did that helped her come to her final decision.

On your own:

  • Outline 3-5 values and goals you want to achieve

  • Make a pros and cons list for taking a gap year vs. going to school

  • Work through the pros and cons: can you mitigate any of these cons? Can you get the pros anywhere else? Do the pros and cons for one path outweigh the pros and cons for the other?

With your parents:

  • Ask your parents what their goals are for you

  • Ask them to write a pros and cons list

  • Work through the pros and cons list with them

  • What path makes the most sense?

In the end, her mother understood the value a gap year had, but she still had hesitations about Nazra taking a gap year.

The opportunities she had during her gap year:

During her gap year, Nazra worked for The Knowledge Society, which is a program that gives young people “olympic” level training to become future innovators and CEOs. Nazra helped the organization expand in Ottawa, Boston, New York and Las Vegas.

Having real world experience and understanding what she wants to do, Nazra feels like she’ll have more ownership over her academics instead of being a passive observer.

During highschool, she took on a lot and spent a lot of time on her school work. Now she understands that the more you take on does not equate to success, knowledge and future jobs. Having a better understanding of what she wants to do, she feels like she’ll be able to choose the projects she does want to focus on rather than doing everything. She also feels like she’ll recognize the resources available to her and utilize them more.

If you want to ask Nazra more questions you can reach her here:

Instagram: @nazranoushad

If you need some help to plan your gap year, please reach out for a free30-minute chat.

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