Is Taking A Gap Year Boring? Watch

SylverStrike
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That's the only thing I'm worried about in concerns to a gap year.

I plan to take up an AS this year, so in my gap year I'll be doing the subject to A2. At the same time, I'll probably be working- I've already got a job with nice, flexible hours.

I've got a couple of weeks in California arranged with a friend, but I'd also like to spend a month in Australia. Aside from that, I probably won't be travelling much throughout the whole year.

I'm just a bit worried that I'll get bored partway through the year, as I'm not really planning on travelling that much as it's too expensive. Also, is a gap year a waste of money? Is the money better spent on university fees?

I just feel like if I go to uni straight after A-levels, I won't be prepared for it. I don't even know what unis to apply to, and I haven't started writing my PS or anything. Would it make sense to wait a year, apply after my A-levels and sort myself out then?

Also, how do you deal with most of your friends going away to uni whilst you're still at home?
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Anonymous1783
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I think the standard answer to this will be that it depends on what you do on your gap year. Some people will work right through and can earn between £10000-£20000 so it doesnt have to be a waste of money. Stop worrying about what your friends are doing because you will all be going to different unis anyway i presume. I recommend taking a gap year to take a break, get some experience travelling and do what you really enjoy.
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soyunatasa
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you'll only get bored if you let yourself!

i worked for half of my gap year, and went on a volunteering placement, for 5 months, and travelled for 1.

It was a bit hard at first with all my friends going to uni, I defo felt a bit left behind, but at the end of things, I made loads of friends from working (and also learnt a bit about the general public ), and had the most amazing time volunteering and travelling it was untrue.

travelling doesn't have to be expensive, it all depends on where you go and how you do it. I still have a fair amount of money left over after the end of this year, and whilst it won't exactly get me through uni, it all helps.

and, at the end of everything, I feel like I've had a life experince (not wanting to sound cheesy), i've grown up a lot, and will definately appreciate university far more than i would have done last year, feeling a lot more worldly wise than a lot of my close friends. Also learnt what it means to work hard.

and if a year out gives you some time to think over what you want to do in uni/finish an a level, do it. you wouldn't want to make the wrong decision, and it's not as if you're going to be behind everyone else if you apply a year later. loads of people do it.

hope this helps.
good luck!
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SylverStrike
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(Original post by soyunatasa)
you'll only get bored if you let yourself!

i worked for half of my gap year, and went on a volunteering placement, for 5 months, and travelled for 1.

It was a bit hard at first with all my friends going to uni, I defo felt a bit left behind, but at the end of things, I made loads of friends from working (and also learnt a bit about the general public ), and had the most amazing time volunteering and travelling it was untrue.

travelling doesn't have to be expensive, it all depends on where you go and how you do it. I still have a fair amount of money left over after the end of this year, and whilst it won't exactly get me through uni, it all helps.

and, at the end of everything, I feel like I've had a life experince (not wanting to sound cheesy), i've grown up a lot, and will definately appreciate university far more than i would have done last year, feeling a lot more worldly wise than a lot of my close friends. Also learnt what it means to work hard.

and if a year out gives you some time to think over what you want to do in uni/finish an a level, do it. you wouldn't want to make the wrong decision, and it's not as if you're going to be behind everyone else if you apply a year later. loads of people do it.

hope this helps.
good luck!
It sounds as though having all of those amazing experiences made up for your friends being at uni. I guess the money side was worrying me, but it's good to know that a short amount of time abroad doesn't always have to be expensive!

Yeah, university is such an important part of a person's life, I really want to appreciate and enjoy it when I do go. It's good to hear that your gap year has made you enjoy your university experience even more.

Thank you very much for your reply, and yours too, Anonymous1783. They've definitely helped.
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Zebrastripes
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If you are going to Australia, it will be very expensive, same prices as here, so you'd need to work lots to save money for uni too. You could travel to somewhere like south east asia, which is very cheap. For example, in Vietnam i was spending £7 a day (with a nice room) instead of about £30 in Australia. Thailand was about £10 per day for me. But staying in dorms rather than doubles is much cheaper. Just an idea of the cheap places where many backpackers go - it's a well trodden route!

I didn't take a gap year before uni and i really regret it.
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SylverStrike
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(Original post by ladydeborah)
If you are going to Australia, it will be very expensive, same prices as here, so you'd need to work lots to save money for uni too. You could travel to somewhere like south east asia, which is very cheap. For example, in Vietnam i was spending £7 a day (with a nice room) instead of about £30 in Australia. Thailand was about £10 per day for me. But staying in dorms rather than doubles is much cheaper. Just an idea of the cheap places where many backpackers go - it's a well trodden route!

I didn't take a gap year before uni and i really regret it.
Brilliant, thanks for the ideas of prices there! Thailand sounds very appealing, I have to admit, though the main reason I went for the idea of going to Australia is because they speak English and it's generally known as a 'safe' country. But I guess that if I'm not going to do these adventurous things now, I'll never do them!

Did you go by youself, or with others? Was it okay, as a girl, travelling to these sorts of places?
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Zebrastripes
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(Original post by SylverStrike)
Brilliant, thanks for the ideas of prices there! Thailand sounds very appealing, I have to admit, though the main reason I went for the idea of going to Australia is because they speak English and it's generally known as a 'safe' country. But I guess that if I'm not going to do these adventurous things now, I'll never do them!

Did you go by youself, or with others? Was it okay, as a girl, travelling to these sorts of places?
I went with my boyfriend, but i met lots of girls on their own or with other girls. If you stay in dorms you usually meet people. Thailand is quite safe as long as you stick to the backpacker route and just be aware of what's going on around you (as you would at home). The thai people are really friendly, and speak pretty good English. What about New Zealand? Same price as Australia, but i found it quite British and friendlier than Australia. I got a special ticket with Qantas which was a return to NZ with free stop overs in Thailand and Oz for £950 and bought cheap flights for flying within asia.
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SylverStrike
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(Original post by ladydeborah)
I went with my boyfriend, but i met lots of girls on their own or with other girls. If you stay in dorms you usually meet people. Thailand is quite safe as long as you stick to the backpacker route and just be aware of what's going on around you (as you would at home). The thai people are really friendly, and speak pretty good English. What about New Zealand? Same price as Australia, but i found it quite British and friendlier than Australia. I got a special ticket with Qantas which was a return to NZ with free stop overs in Thailand and Oz for £950 and bought cheap flights for flying within asia.
I'm really, really liking the sound of that. And having stopovers in Thailand and Australia would be amazing, so without going back and forth too much you've seen quite a lot of places. And £950 is very good!

I was thinking of going with some gap year company, but I guess they may overcharge because of organizing it all. I might just have to convince a friend of mine to come along with me...

Once again, thanks for all the info. It's great to hear from someone who's actually been out there and done it.
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Zebrastripes
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(Original post by SylverStrike)
I'm really, really liking the sound of that. And having stopovers in Thailand and Australia would be amazing, so without going back and forth too much you've seen quite a lot of places. And £950 is very good!

I was thinking of going with some gap year company, but I guess they may overcharge because of organizing it all. I might just have to convince a friend of mine to come along with me...

Once again, thanks for all the info. It's great to hear from someone who's actually been out there and done it.
Also, you don't have to stop over in Thailand, you can stop over in quite a few countries in Asia. The ticket is called a Dreamtime ticket, they have quite a few, normal, special and plus (varies in number of stopovers). http://www.qantas.com.au/regions/dyn...ials/dreamtime Prices vary, we left in June, so winter and rainy season - but we went skiing in NZ and it didn't rain much in Thailand, great weather all round! And Australia has good weather all year round really, especially Sydney and above.

Gap year companies are good as you meet people and stay with them, but it's so expensive.
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FyreFight
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Don't do the standard thing of going to Thailand. Honestly, even if it's the 'done' thing for gap yearists to do, there are far better countries to see, either on your own or with friends. The only areas you'd want to visit are now so overrun with bars and brothels catering primarily for tourists that white people are almost the majority. There's more adventure in going to a different supermarket to your local than there is travelling around that country.
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SylverStrike
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(Original post by ladydeborah)
Also, you don't have to stop over in Thailand, you can stop over in quite a few countries in Asia. The ticket is called a Dreamtime ticket, they have quite a few, normal, special and plus (varies in number of stopovers). http://www.qantas.com.au/regions/dyn...ials/dreamtime Prices vary, we left in June, so winter and rainy season - but we went skiing in NZ and it didn't rain much in Thailand, great weather all round! And Australia has good weather all year round really, especially Sydney and above.

Gap year companies are good as you meet people and stay with them, but it's so expensive.
Wow, you can choose from such cool places! Tokyo? Yes please!

That sounds like such a good idea. I'm really tempted by this now. Is it usually better to book early or late?

Thanks for the link!
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SylverStrike
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(Original post by FyreFight)
Don't do the standard thing of going to Thailand. Honestly, even if it's the 'done' thing for gap yearists to do, there are far better countries to see, either on your own or with friends. The only areas you'd want to visit are now so overrun with bars and brothels catering primarily for tourists that white people are almost the majority. There's more adventure in going to a different supermarket to your local than there is travelling around Thailand.
Yeah, I've got a friend planning on travelling all the way through Russia and to some other very obscure, but probably very interesting countries, and I can see the appeal of that. I just worry that personally, it's not right for me- I'm terrible with languages, and I'm just not sure I could handle travelling to these obscure places. I do want to travel, I do want to see the world, and perhaps I'd better go out of my comfort zone sooner rather than later, but I really just don't want to regret going to the wrong place, if you see what I mean.

I've always wanted to visit Australia, and I like the thought of being able to get a job out there for a month or so. I just worry that with the more obscure countries, it will become more 'unsafe' (I know it's a stereotype, but I hate the thought of my parents worrying endlessly about me). I'd like to find the balance between somewhere interesting and somewhere accessible.
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Zebrastripes
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(Original post by SylverStrike)
Wow, you can choose from such cool places! Tokyo? Yes please!

That sounds like such a good idea. I'm really tempted by this now. Is it usually better to book early or late?

Thanks for the link!
I'd say book early. I changed my home flight while i was away, and just looking at flight times, i noticed that a single from Sydney to London was £850!! We booked our tickets in November for June, so really early - there was a deadline to get a certain price, after that date it went up. We booked through STA, so may be worth just popping in there and having a chat with them about all of your ideas. You don't necessarily have to book with them, but they have good advice.

Thailand is overun with tourists, but that makes it a lot safer. I remember going through some really dodgy ares of Loas, i didn't feel very safe. Places like Africa are great, but may be worth going with a company.
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mrs_bellamy
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Are any of your friends taking gap years? What's the social life like at your work, do you get on well with the people there? I spent quite a lot of my gap year working, and whilst it was a fantastic experience which I really enjoyed (job quite relevant to what I want to do in the future) it got quite boring sometimes because all my friends went to uni, and most of the people I worked with were married/had kids so we didn't go out much. Now I'm working in France I'm having a great time and absolutely loving it (only 3 days left though!), but it was hard being left behind, especially at the start of the year (mine was unplanned so everyone left and I was suddenly on my own with no idea what to do!) Overall though I'm so glad I did it, sounds cheesy but I have learnt so much and grown up a lot. I think I'm a lot more ready for uni. I would definately say go for it, but be prepared to possibly be bored at the start, and I would say try to do something other than just working if you can. If you're worried about money maybe think about getting a job abroad? Or as other people have said, travel cheaply, you can make more than enough money in the first half of the year to go travelling for a bit, I went round America a bit and had a couple of holidays to Jordan and Romania, but I think I could have done a lot more and could still have saved a bit for uni.
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SylverStrike
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(Original post by mrs_bellamy)
Are any of your friends taking gap years? What's the social life like at your work, do you get on well with the people there? I spent quite a lot of my gap year working, and whilst it was a fantastic experience which I really enjoyed (job quite relevant to what I want to do in the future) it got quite boring sometimes because all my friends went to uni, and most of the people I worked with were married/had kids so we didn't go out much. Now I'm working in France I'm having a great time and absolutely loving it (only 3 days left though!), but it was hard being left behind, especially at the start of the year (mine was unplanned so everyone left and I was suddenly on my own with no idea what to do!) Overall though I'm so glad I did it, sounds cheesy but I have learnt so much and grown up a lot. I think I'm a lot more ready for uni. I would definately say go for it, but be prepared to possibly be bored at the start, and I would say try to do something other than just working if you can. If you're worried about money maybe think about getting a job abroad? Or as other people have said, travel cheaply, you can make more than enough money in the first half of the year to go travelling for a bit, I went round America a bit and had a couple of holidays to Jordan and Romania, but I think I could have done a lot more and could still have saved a bit for uni.

Some are, and some aren't. One's travelling a lot, and I'm hoping to go on a trip with her. I've already arranged to go to America for a couple of weeks with another, though we're just staying in one place.

My social life at work is pretty good- most of the people who work with me are either in their late teens or early twenties, and they seem to be constantly out drinking. I guess I underestimate my social life at work because I'm not as close friends with them as I am with my normal friends so to speak.

Sounds like you had a good time with your gap year overall. Thanks for sharing your experience. That's the one thing I'm hoping a gap year will help me with- I really think a gap year will make me more mature and prepared for uni.

Once again, thanks!
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Ewan
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I think I would of seen it as a waste if I had just worked for 12 months. You could work, and have a great time, but its still a waste really. You could of gone straight to uni, and had a great time, I don't think working teaches you very much.

The GAP year has made me more mature, but only because I moved out of my parents house for most of it. If you stay at home your likely to let your parents do most things for you.

I think you learn the most from moving away, basically either for a job in another town for a long period of time, or from travelling. You learn to cope on your own, with noone to help you, and thats what growing up is all about.

By the way, if you work for 4 months full time, you could easily save up the £3000-4000 needed for a 6month GAP year. I spent about 3800 GBP, in 6months including everything. If you knock off japan and make that 5 months it would be about 2800. I went to SEA & China (and japan)
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worldwide
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(Original post by Anonymous1783)
I think the standard answer to this will be that it depends on what you do on your gap year. Some people will work right through and can earn between £10000-£20000 so it doesnt have to be a waste of money. Stop worrying about what your friends are doing because you will all be going to different unis anyway i presume. I recommend taking a gap year to take a break, get some experience travelling and do what you really enjoy.
To be honest, I highly doubt that anyone has earned £20,000 on a single gap year between sixth form and university.

In general, yes, there can be times on your gap year when you'll think, goodness, my friends are all having a tremendous time at university. Hence why I created the gap year boredom society. But, you should at the very least make a few friends at work and gain some valuable experience, with the possibility of having some of the most fantastic experiences of your life and earning money as well. I think the key to a non-frustrating gap year is always having something to look forward to, be it visiting friends at university or a trip abroad.
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