5 June 2016

Planning the Future: Gap Year? Uni?

The future ( noun) - "A period of time following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as still to come."

After high school and starting sixth form:

At high school doing your GCSEs, you don't have to think beyond the difficult exams and the lovely long summer holiday. You only have to plan to stay on in education or choose an apprenticeship, but that choice, although very important, doesn't have to dramatically change your lifestyle.

I chose to go to sixth form the year after I finished my GCSEs. This meant that 6 months into my brand new school, new friends and classmates, new teachers, much harder lessons and lots of extra work, we were all suddenly expected to have our whole lives planned out in front of us. Every choice and decision and activity that came after was essential to get right or it seemed like you were destined to no future at all.

I found this very rushed and decisions all being crucial and all to be made in moments. As I've been told though, rushing is the worst thing you can do, because these decisions can effect your future, career prospects and lifestyle. I don't like the idea of that at all. I'm one of these people who wishes you could get a sneak peek at your future just to check you are on the path to happiness and stability.

Personal Statements for university or apprenticeships:

We had a day in school just before the Easter holidays dedicated to personal statements for UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admisions Service: how you apply to university in the UK) and university. This was a bit of a shock for me because I hadn't really listened to any of the teachers saying before then that we had to start thinking about universities or apprenticeships and our personal statement.

In the day, we had a talk from an apprenticeships company and lots of time with our form groups to start discussing and writing our personal statement. I still haven't finished mine and I should have used that time better. One thing I did find useful was making a list of everything that I've done which would impress a future institution or employers. This was able to should me my real passions and the skills I had which could enable me to be successful.

A gap year (is it a good idea or not?):

Something I am considering before going to university is to have a gap year. This would involve applying for university at the normal time at the beginning of my second year at sixth form, but asking for my application to be deferred for a year. This would mean that I would definitely have a place at university for the next year.

I would use a gap year to get a job to build my confidence and personal and social skills, to find some work experience in the field I want to go into (so hopefully some psychology based work experience) and to do some extra courses to build up my interest and prove my passion for my subject.

Feeling ready for further education and growing up:

I came up with the idea of a gap year when me and my dad were talking about the future together a few months ago, so when I next spoke to my mum I mentioned maybe having a gap year and she immediately thought it was a really good idea. Like me, she realises that I am not the most confident or life-on-my-own-ready type of a person (and she wants me at stay at home longer anyway), so we both knew it could benefit me a lot.

I've always been pretty shy although I've become more and more confident as I've grown up. Even though I have become more confident, I'm still not sure if I feel ready to live away from home year. A gap year will give me the opportunity to gain more useful stills and begin to feel ready to start that new part of my life.

Overall it is kind of hard to grow up:

Choosing what to do with your future after you leave education is a really big step into the dark, but we should all definitely try and see it as an opportunity and an exciting chance to start something new. I think having a gap year will be really beneficial for me because it will enable me to build up more skills and become ready for going to university and living away from home.

What have you decided to do with your future?

What are you already pursuing in your life?