My "Northern, state-school" Style Gap Year

Leeds

Megan Valentine

“So, I spent 3 weeks in Bali and then travelled South East Asia.”

“Oh cool! I actually went to South America and volunteered for 6 months; what about you?”

Erm, I worked. Took a couple of city breaks…


Honestly, after starting university last September and speaking with fellow gap year students, that is how most conversations went. I think most people assume that people take a year out to travel, see the world and “find themselves." They mimic “gap yahh” for a reason: it’s often thought that the person is wealthy, from the South and confident. Three attributes I lacked.


In fact, I didn’t actually decide to take a year out until late May, by which point any plans to set off on a soul finding sabbatical in September had already been shot down by that time.


I knew I wanted to save some money prior to university so that I didn’t have to worry about finding a job once I got there. As soon as my summer job finished, I began the search. To be honest, until about December I was not in a good place. I was in a job I hated (first lesson learned: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!) I still had no idea if I even wanted to go to uni, and the amount of jobs I was being rejected from was mounting as much as my regret.


In December, this all changed when I found a Christmas job I enjoyed, I was then made permanent, and I also started tutoring too. In the end, I had three jobs, did two volunteering projects, maintained my dance classes two days a week and purchased a gym membership. I was THRIVING both mentally and physically. I also got to visit five countries too, saving enough to do a bit of travel in the September before I started uni!


If you’re now thinking of taking a year out due to the pandemic, but worry it’s too late to decide, it really isn’t. Whilst my experience may be different, it just proves that you don’t need a mountain of money or confidence to have the best year of your life so far.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to get the latest content straight to your inbox!
arrow&v