Taking a gap year? Here are 4 things you can do

Published by Fardeen Sheikh on

Taking a gap year? Here are 4 things you can do!

You’re finally done with school! You passed all your tests, wrote all your essays, then walked the graduation stage. 

Some people choose to go straight to college after high school, others choose to wait a year or so before going to college, and others choose to start their careers right away. You don’t have the full force of adulthood falling on you yet, and some can still live with their parents, guilt-free! 

Spencer Jason | Avant-Youth

I was fortunate enough to stay at home, gone from the anxiety of school but away from the stress of bills, when I chose to take a gap year after high school. There are many things you can (and should) do if you choose to take a gap year. Now the world is your oyster! 

You have the freedom to do anything with more free time than you’ll ever have! For me, the first few months were spent binge-watching Friends on Netflix (R.I.P. Friends). But that got old very quickly, because the routine of doing the same thing every day (even if it’s something you enjoy) becomes monotonous. That is why I have created a list of things you could do during your gap year so you don’t run into the same roadblocks I did. 

Travel Abroad

Backpacking is popular among people who take gap years, though this would require some early planning. You should save up money beforehand if you want to take this route! 

Backpacking allows you to truly experience local cultures and bring back cool stories to tell your friends in college. You can choose to plan your backpacking trip independently, there are plenty of cheap hostels you can book online or you can use Airbnb. You can also use a travel agency to help you plan your trip, such as Contiki Travel Tours or Kilroy

Work for a Nonprofit

You can use your gap year to volunteer and gain experience while actually helping others. On the local level, you can volunteer at soup kitchens, animal shelters and environmental organizations. You can also choose to go abroad and help people in different countries. Organizations such as YearOn, which will send you to different countries to live with citizens for a couple of months and help their community and also plan out your post-school future, are great starting places to apply. 

Learn a New Skill

You’re no longer in school being forced to learn subjects you literally could not care less about. Now is your chance to learn about topics that specifically align with your passions. 

You can learn a new language on Duolingo, or about Mental Models. You can also do open courses from colleges like Yale, Stanford  or  MIT. There’s a variety of subjects available on Khan Academy, and there’s OpenCulture, where you can learn about films, history, art, languages, astronomy, science, literature, philosophy, etc.  

All of these websites are completely free! The internet has completely democratized education for everyone, allowing websites like these to let you learn without paying the ridiculously high college fees and tuition, which has been covered by the way, here.


Ultimately what I chose to do was an internship. I chose to intern at Avant-Youth after months of trying to figure out what to do with all this free time I had. 

Internships allow you to jumpstart your career because you are gaining a lot of practical, hands-on experience that your college peers are missing out on. If you are somebody who has a clear vision of what they might want to do but you’re not ready to commit to college yet, then you should definitely consider an internship!

Media personality and talk show host Shane Woods goofs around on set with Avant-Youth's production crew. Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

Speaking of which, this is my last article with Avant-Youth as an intern! I am truly thankful to my Editor-in-Chief, Judy Kim, for guiding me through my internship. I’m happy to have been part of the AY family and built relationships with everyone at the crew. Thank you all very much for having made this internship worthwhile!

Editor’s note: As of the publishing date, journalist intern Fardeen Sheikh has been accepted to the University of Sheffield school of journalism, as well as the City University of London. We are excited for this next journey in his life.

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Fardeen Sheikh

Fardeen Sheikh is from Stockholm, Sweden, and he has travelled the world at a very young age. Before coming to Atlanta, he’s lived around Europe and the Middle East. He has recently moved back to Sweden, and is going to study Journalism in City, University of London. He enjoys watching movies, drinking inordinate amounts of coffee, photography, writing and drawing–even with his best attempts–stick figures. He speaks Bengali, Hindi, French, English and Swedish, while learning a bunch of new things in his free time.


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