The great gap year

With seven months gone and no clarity on what will happen next, take this opportunity to explore, up your skills and get some “me” time.

August 15, 2020 03:45 pm | Updated 03:45 pm IST

Young male thinking, looking at blackboard - Just add your text

Young male thinking, looking at blackboard - Just add your text

“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” said Winston Churchill during World War II. While entrepreneurs, business leaders, teachers and financial wizards manage to make the crisis work for them, many students are headed towards a “gap year”.

However, this is a double-edged sword. It can either add to your profile and your CV or a void that you attempt to gloss over.

Seven suggestions

Brush up tech skills: If you are tech-averse, now is the time to build some basic skills. Remember, the pandemic has pushed the world on the path of artificial intelligence, big data, smart gadgets and robotics. Tech skills are like literacy today. There are many beginner’s modules on Python, app development, game development or basic data analysis skills.

Design Thinking is another option, as are actual design skills like working with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.

Learning a new language needs a lot more than a few online courses, though DuoLingo is good. Working with an institute that prepares you for certification exams is much better.

Online jobs and internships: Many companies have moved their entry-level jobs and internships online but projects are certainly available — mainly in data analytics, digital marketing, content creation and even in sales. These can last between three weeks and six months.

Fund raising or Social awareness: We need to support each other more now than ever before. Artisans, sari manufacturers, street performers, tailors, construction workers, restaurants and caterers, tour and trekking guides and other groups are struggling under the pandemic-led economic shutdown. Find a group for whom you can raise money and awareness. Work with community leaders to build alternative sources of incomes and leverage their skills and resources.

Mental and physical fitness: This is an excellent opportunity to recoup and recover your emotional balance and strength and address chronic anxiety or depression. Read the accounts of others as well — and join a course in meditation or reach out to a therapist.

Whether it is yoga, mixed martial arts, tennis, strength training, running, now is the time to aim for the lifestyle, health and body you desire. The gap year demands structure, energy and purpose. And there is nothing like a fitness regime to create that for you.

Become an amateur at something: Einstein played the piano and violin, Sheryl Sandberg writes books, Mark Zuckerberg is an avid runner, Taylor Swift makes snow globes, Johnny Depp collects Barbie dolls (I’m not judging), Amitabh Bachchan is a blogger and Rajinikanth reads books (no, really). Find the thing that gets you off the couch and going!

Entrepreneurship: If you dream of being the next big disruptor, put those entrepreneurship muscles to some use now. Set up something you always wanted to — a blog, a rating app, an online show, a channel, a contest, an online event…. Make things happen and don’t count the money you’ll make, as of now.

It’s just a gap year after all!

The writer is Founder and CEO, Inomi Learning, a Gurugram-based career and college guidance firm. Email:

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