You know the feeling… you’ve just spent 12 or more years studying, and topped it all off with a month-long cramming session that could only be matched by 20 clowns and a Volkswagen.
Your brain is begging for a break. Your head hankers for a holiday. Your cerebrum seeks a celebration.
But let’s think about this for a minute (although, I guess thinking's the last thing you want to do).
Gap years are great in theory, but you still need to make the most of them to ensure all those years of academic toil don’t get wasted.
Augmenting your gap year with part-time and flexible study at TAFE is one way to take a breather without jeopardising your momentum and your motivation.
Studying online gives you the space, while flexible study lets you learn on your own terms: while travelling, on the job, on campus, at home, or any combination of these.
Say, for example, you’ve planned a year-long trek through South America to indulge your love of wildlife. Well, if you can just make it to the internet every now and again you can study too.
Then (aside from becoming an expert in treating the bite of a Brazilian Wandering Spider) you could return with a Certificate II in Animal Studies and then start uni to become a vet.
Or, maybe you want to stay a little closer to home, but your ATAR didn’t get you into that business degree. A year spent studying project management and working part-time could provide the extra qualifications you need to fix that – and put some cash in your pocket to fund your first venture.
On the other hand, you may already have access to your ideal career, but feel you need to dip the toe with some useful short courses, like the Providing Responsible Service of Alcohol, or Basic Web Development Special Skills Set, before you take the big plunge.
If it doesn’t work out, you can get on with another career path without losing too much time. However, if the shoe does fit, Skill Sets can count as credit towards your longer qualification.
Just the act of undertaking part time study can enhance your job prospects by strengthening your CV and demonstrating to potential employers that you have initiative, a strong work-ethic and a determination to succeed.
Everyone’s circumstances are different, but part-time, flexible online study is a viable option if you want to avoid a gap year becoming a lost year.
Because the last thing you want to do is spend the year on the couch.
Not only will you stall your life and career, all that Oprah, Ellen and Dr Phil will leave you knowing far more about foot shavers than any person ever should.