Four questions to ask before taking a COVID-19 gap year
With all the changes that COVID-19 has brought, you may find yourself wondering if a 'gap year' is a good choice. Does it make sense for you to take a year away from education right now?
To help decide if a gap year is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
1 Where do I want to be in a year, and how do I get there?
For many, a year away from education offers a way to cope with anxiety and uncertainty. However, make sure your choices now will align with your longer-term goals. Can you use the coming year to move ahead with your education plan and your future career aspirations? Consider the skills, experiences, values, abilities and knowledge you could realistically gain in a year, and whether a gap year or a year of online learning will move you towards your career goals faster.
2 Will I lose or gain opportunities if I take a break now?
We're already seeing the short-term uncertainty of COVID-19 switch to a longer-term economic recovery. Competition for talent will resume as companies begin re-hiring and new companies hit their stride. Where will you be when those opportunities emerge?
A gap year affords some opportunity to travel, experience new things and grow personally; however travelling widely isn't very realistic right now. Working for a year might be a great first step toward a career; just confirm whether the experience you want will be available.
Also think about the impact to your educational choices. Will your program be offered next year? Are you able to defer without penalty? Does it cost to re-apply, and will you be as likely to receive an offer of admission or any financial assistance?
(Don't forget: Fanshawe offers a four-part success and satisfaction guarantee for fall 2020 students.)
3 Will I be safe?
Every school and workplace has been impacted by COVID-19. No matter where you choose to spend your time during the pandemic, make sure your health and safety are a top priority. If you choose to spend a year working, be certain your employer will follow public health guidelines and take steps to keep you protected.
If you prefer to stay home and stay safe, remember that online learning can be done from the comfort and security of your home with no risk of exposure to others.
4 Am I ready for online or blended learning?
There are a lot of myths and stigmas about online learning. No doubt, some people's learning styles are more compatible with in-person classes. However, online learning isn't going away. In more than a decade, Fanshawe's fully-online or blended-delivery offerings have only increased, and so have advances in educational technology.
Remember, many employers have discovered how important it is to have a flexible, online-savvy workforce. Being able to self-direct, adapt and navigate technology will make you more employable.
For more information about online learning and how to assess your readiness, check out this blog post.
To gap or not to gap?
Education is never time wasted, although a term or year away from school can offer an appealing option for dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the current pandemic. The benefit of attending a program or taking a break really depends on what you plan to do with the time and how you will invest in yourself. Ask yourself whether a gap year will keep you safe, increase your opportunities and help you move toward your long-term goals.
To discuss academic options or explore your career pathways, you can always contact one of Fanshawe's admissions or career advisors.
Don't regret taking a break, like this guy did:
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- Fanshawe's St. Thomas/Elgin Regional Campus encourages adult learners to consider educational options this fall.
- The Board of Governors of Fanshawe College is seeking applications for membership to fill three vacancies on the Board commencing September 1, 2021.