Planning for the future probably tops the list of most adults’ frustrations. You are almost at the end of your high school or university, and you are still up in the air about your next step – your parents, friends and community are on your neck to decide already. And maybe you’re thinking, “I need a gap year”.
A lot of people have a perception that gap years are a waste of time and the reason is that they don’t have enough information about how one could make their gap year count. With the right mindset and clear goals, you could make your gap year count.
According to Stats SA, during the first quarter of 2019, 55.2% of youth between the ages of 15-24 were unemployed, and 31% of which were graduates. That is about an 11.4% increase since the fourth quarter of 2018 which was 19.5%.
One of the reasons why youth is unable to contribute towards South Africa’s economy is because they are undecided about their future.
Lwandile Zonke, who has a degree in Accounting, decided to take a gap year after his graduation. Zonke thought this was the best decision to secure a better future for himself. He has made the most of his gap year – he’s inspired youth in high schools and tutored some pupils. Zonke is also an aspiring business maverick.
During his studies Zonke realised that he didn’t enjoy Accounting as much as he thought he previously had. However, he decided to finish his degree because he believes that one should always finish what they start.
During his gap year, Zonke put his focus on networking and making a name for himself in entrepreneurship and committed himself in doing volunteering work. He also attended business training session by the National Youth
Development Agency (NYDA) and the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA). He is now confident and comfortable about his public speaking skills.
“A gap year is not a waste of time if you know what you will do and make out of it,” Zonke says.
“It should be a year to plan thoroughly for your way forward, be it your studies or any other interest that you may have. A gap year is very good for one’s introspection and thorough planning. We end up doing things we don’t like because we are racing with others. Life is not a race and we all have our different paths to success, and I think we should all embrace that and respect other people’s choices.”
Tiyiselani Mukhari who is founder CEO of Rich Learning Programme says that young people should be aware of who they associate themselves with and try as much as possible to make decisions that will impact their future positively.
“Taking a gap year should, ultimately, be utilized for self-introspection purposes and clearly defining one’s short and long-term goals. This should be accompanied by invested time in continuous planning and taking part in activities such as; learning a new skill or trying out a new business idea; spending as much time with family and loved ones; turning your hobbies into income generating activities, reading, saving, planning and networking.”
The world is brimming with endless opportunities and plenty people who’ve established themselves in respective industries.
A gap year is not a waste of time if you know what you will do and make out of it.
Generally, people see gap years as a waste of time because they don’t layout concise plans before commencing with their decision. You should set your goals and outline what you want to achieve at the end of the year. Aim to create a feeling that when you look back at your decisions you don’t regret anything at all. Work towards self-fulfilment.