What to do on a Gap Year when you don't travel!

My gap year was very enforced. Ask any of my friends and they'll tell you how I was so against the idea of taking a year out - despite knowing deep down I wouldn't be able to cope with it. When the realisation hit that I was not going to be starting University for another year, I sat around twiddling my thumbs for how I was going to pass the time. From the girl who never travelled on her Gap Year...here is my advice for what to do on a Gap Year when you don't go travelling.

ONE: Work. This might sound an obvious one but finding a job in the Summer/September is the time to get one. Don't wait around for one to come to you, go out and search for it. I've spent the past year working in a corner shop, neither glamourous or particulary exciting (except some of the stories - well, that's a blog post in itself). However it's given me good skills, kept me very busy, but most importantly earnt me a little pot of money so I can relax a bit more at Uni, or treat myself once I've finished.

TWO: Keep in touch with friends. It's likely you're taking a year out, and they're all in the supermarket buying out the alcohol aisle ready for freshers week, or packing a backpack ready to fly to Thailand. Whatever they're doing and where ever they are going you need to stay in touch. A text, phonecall, skype chat, does pass the time, gives you something new to talk about and when they come home, they won't have forgotten about you, and you'll have loads of things to do!

THREE: Set yourself a challenge. For nearly four months of my year I was training for a 10K run. Three times a week I'd go out to train, and I could see the race getting closer and the time ticking by. In between I was raising sponsorship money, and this not only kept me focused on my goal, but when I look back on the year, or tell people about it, I feel a real sense of pride.

FOUR: Do more of what you enjoy. You've got the whole year to yourself, do what you want to do, go where you want to go, when you want to go there. There's no burden of revision or exams on your shoulder so enjoy yourself and put more time into your hobbies and what you love.

FIVE: Take up a new hobby. If you pick something new to do, it's likely you'll have something to carry on once you go to uni. Join a club on your gap year to meet people and socialise, and then you can join a club or society at uni, meet more people and carry it on. Or just further a hobby you already have - try to progress it and achieve more.

SIX: Volunteer. Some people may think this is a waste of time, it's like working without earning money. But this is something that gives a real feel good feeling. It'll also look great on your CV in the future and employers will see that you put your gap year to good use and didn't just sit and watch back to back Jeremy Kyle!

SEVEN: Visit parts of your country. Here in the UK there are many glorious places that you won't have seen that you can get to much cheaper than you can Thailand! It could be just as fun....just remember to pack your wellies!

Those are my six tips of advice for what to do on your gap year when you don't travel. Hope you've enojoyed this post. Have you had a gap year where you didn't travel? What did you do? Or are you thinking of taking one?

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