What is the most productive way to spend a gap year?



We all have different reasons for taking our gap years.

Maybe it’s because you think college is great and you’re just saving up money for it.

I happen to be in the camp that college was a drain and there are better ways to be successful than getting a degree.

Since this is probably your first time not being in school, get ready for an awesome experience. You might spend the first week on your mom’s couch eating Cheetos and playing video games, but since you asked this question, I think you’ll get tired of that real fast.

This is a year of advantages for you. While you’re friends are bogged down with schoolwork that won’t help them in their jobs, you have:

  1. the flexibility to go to another country whenever you want
  2. the time to learn what you want to learn (email marketing, salsa dancing, or coding)
  3. the experience you’ll earn by creating your own projects and potentially getting an internship/job with a startup
  4. the life lessons you learn from failing and succeeding in the real world
  5. the self-realization you earn from not knowing what you want to do, to figuring it out day-by-day, without classes to distract you
  6. the confidence you’ll feel knowing that life is in your control

… I could honestly go on.

I know a gap “year” may seem like a long time, so take it month-by-month. For each month decide, what is it that I really never had the chance to do, but always wanted to try out?

You have so many less things pulling on you, so use your imagination.

A list of things you could do:

  • Learn how to do freelance work (photography, coding, graphic design, etc).
  • Go hiking on a Monday.
  • Write a daily blog for a month.
  • Travel to a new country for a couple weeks.
  • Offer to work at a startup that you like for free for a month.
  • Read books you’ve always wanted to read.
  • Keep a daily journal.
  • Attend a yoga class in the middle of the day.
  • Develop monthly goals that challenge you to do things you’ve always wanted to, but never had the time to because of school.

What makes you come alive?

What’s something that you’ve always wanted to do?

Because this gap year separates you from all of the financial issues, drama, and monotonous class time you’d be experiencing in college.

Nearly anything you do outside of that environment will be a productive use of your gap year. Good luck :)

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This post was originally on Quora here.