Falling into the gap: life in-between varsity and employment

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A gap year is not a waste of time, no matter what our relatives love to say Click To Tweet

Graduating from university is one of the most satisfying moments in life, you’ve accomplished your goals and now you are ready for the rest of your life. It can also bring a lot of anxiety especially if you don’t have a job lined up.

Don’t worry though, great things take time but its how you spend that time that also matters. What you do during period between finishing university and starting a job can actually shape the rest of your career so here’s some tips on how to make the most of it.

Take a gap year

free-gifVarsity can leave you burnt out, tired and overall unable to deal. A gap year is not a waste of time, no matter what our relatives love to say. Taking time off can help you figure out what you want from life and your career.  If you can afford to travel, do so.

If you have to pay your way, consider teaching overseas or if you’re just looking for work experience an internship at the UN could be a viable option. If you are settling back home you could also volunteer, this opportunity will not only look great on your CV but is an opportunity to help in your local community.

Use the time to plan

Graduating from university doesn’t necessarily mean you know exactly what you want to do. It is highly likely you spent more time focusing on the next assignment due or exam to write and never really sat down to think about your future. This is the time you have to sit back and plan, perhaps start a journal.

Set out your career goals (using this SLA guide), business plan, decide who you are and where you are going. Doing this can keep you extremely motivated and will help you plan your next step. Set new goals, you don’t always have to fit into the traditional path and this may be the time to broaden your career search, you could consider going back to school.

Protect your mental health

It is extremely demoralizing to watch your peers get jobs straight out of varsity. It is also very easy to lose motivation when the job hunt is not automatically successful; so keeping a positive attitude is important for your well being. Exercising can be a fun way to keep emotionally grounded and fit. You could try out new forms of exercise like Pilates or Yoga which have been said to be mood boosters.

Creating structures is important especially for people who find a balance by knowing what to do. You could wake up at a certain time each day, set aside hours to job hunt, set time for writing etc. Creating structure can help you from falling into a slump, when we feel like we are doing nothing we lose our way a bit and so by creating stability we keep motivated.

Make your hobbies your career

i-can-do-anything-mindy-gifOne of the coolest things about having downtime is being able to do what you love most. If that’s reading novels, create a book list and get to reading. If writing is your thing, start a blog. It is a great creative outlet that could potentially lead to new opportunities.

Through exploring your passions, you could turn your hobbies in to a possible career opportunity. The opportunities are endless.

Online courses

Keeping occupied during this period is important to make sure you keep motivated. By taking online courses you enhance your skills and keep your brain active. The courses you could take could be influenced by your career choice because they could potentially make you a better candidate when you apply for jobs.

It could also be a smart opportunity to read up on different disciplines, use this time to explore your options.

Use this time to work through your business ideas or set your career goals Click To Tweet

It is okay to not be okay

things-happen-gifSometimes life has its own plans for us and timing just is not in your favour. Even though this gap feels like the worst thing that could happen to you it might not be. The time will allow you to work through your business ideas or setting your career goals.

Your emotional well- being definitely is vital so taking time off to check yourself may just be what you need. Sometimes time has to stand still for us to move forward.

About Ruva Samkange

Ruva is a Junior Technical Officer at the International Labour Organisation after completing her Masters in Shipping Law. Ruva is an avid book reader, a series junkie and loves a strong cup of coffee. Constantly inspired by the women around her, she believes that the future is female, hers and most importantly yours too.

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