The Benefits of taking a sandwich year (Gap Year)

August 5, 2012

Self-Empowerment


In a time where youth unemployment in the UK is at an all time high it is paramount that one equips themselves with the best ammunition in order to raise  themselves above the rest when it comes to job hunting.  There are many great ways in ensuring you have done your best  and the taking a gap year is perhaps the best way in achieving this, it offers so many benefits that when one looks at it deeper it is an absolute must.

A friend once asked me for advice as to the benefits of taking a sandwich year and why he should undertake the year, in response I tried to summarise the benefits in the following points below.

1) It provides you with an insight as to where your degree will take you in terms of working practical life, it allows you to get a grasp of the working sector and the opportunities that it provides. You will see where one typically starts their job and the options that are available for them to step up the ladder and succeed in life

2) It allows you to adjust to a full working life style where you are busy throughout most of the day thereby giving you a practical insight and taster of what is to come.

3) It will put you in situations that you will face in working life and challenge you as to how to deal with them as a Muslim i.e being invited for a pub lunch, to shake hand or not to shake, limitations with social interaction with workforce (friday night pubs, party invites etc)…  You see what I felt is that due to these limitations I perhaps was not seen as a social person whereas I perhaps am. What I am getting at is that these are all situations we will all face and it is important not to compromise on our limits.

4) In a time of recession and lack of job prospects experience is key and vital, despite graduating with a 1st and having a years experience I found it difficult to find a job and it took me 6 months to find a job in my profession .  Therefore any experience is important because even in my current role I always fall back to what I learnt in my year out.

5) Bridging that gap between academic and vocational divide, you will notice that almost everything you have studied and learnt at University will not benefit you when it comes to your specific job role. Your role will compromise of tasks and targets expected of you and that essentially will be your bread and butter.
6) In terms of community involvement I found that I didn’t have to cut back as much as I thought, it really is up to you and you will see how it will impact you once you start. You will have weekends free and perhaps will want to use that time effectively.

7) You may be worried as to whether taking a year out will disrupt your study pattern however  no need worry by the end of your year out you will want to return to uni and get back into study mode. At first it may be a little slow but university  usually starts off with light work load at the start and as the weeks go they begin to pile up, although each uni may be different.

8) In the IT sector I realised that beyond my degree there are many professional courses that one can and should take in order to improve career prospects this was not taught or even made aware to me by my uni and only found out through my year out.

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About mohamedridha

Network Systems Engineer with focus on Wireless LAN Infrastructure and Security. Interests in Middle East

View all posts by mohamedridha

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