Taking a Gap Year after your Diploma

Need some time off to think about what’s next after polytechnic? Taking a gap year might just be a remedy for some of you. Having some time and freedom to hone some skills and boost your confidence helps in shaping your future plans.
Anne Grace Savitha
Writer, gradsingapore

After three intense years of diploma studies, taking a gap year to unwind and figure out your next path will do you good, especially if you’re unsure about the future. In your time off, be sure to pursue fruitful opportunities that will enrich your experiences before deciding on your next leap – to work or continue with your studies.

1. Get work exposure of your choice

Ever thought of trying out a certain job but did not have the time for it when you were in school? Your gap year offers you opportunities to experiment with your interests. You can take on a stint with a company of your choice or create a side hustle.

Going more in-depth into your course of study for your diploma is also possible, especially if you seek more hands-on experience. If want to specialise further, now is your chance to research on the options available before writing in to offer your time and skills.

For instance, if you have an early childhood education diploma and wish to go into art education for pre-schoolers, find a kindergarten which specialises in this field. You can pick up more methods and real-world experience, rather than sticking to a more conventional teaching role.

Share about your interests during your interactions with others, such as co-workers and superiors, and they may be able to guide you along or introduce you to someone who can do so.

Remember to stay committed to the jobs you have signed up for and have fun while enriching your skill sets. Don’t forget to list these experiences and skills accordingly in your resume and portfolio. You can also create a personal learning log to jot down your reflections.

2. Travel to broaden your horizons

In your gap year, you will also have plenty of time to travel. Choose a country or region that has always piqued your interest, finalise your budget and start researching on what you need to prepare for your trip. Having more time in one destination lets you immerse yourself into the place and culture, instead of being the ‘touch and go’ tourist.

More importantly, travelling give you insights into issues around the world through different cultural experiences and forcing you to get out of your comfort zone, especially when you do not have a luxurious budget as a student.

When you’re applying for school or jobs after your gap year travel, be sure to tell future employers and admission officers about the insights you’ve gained from the independence and exploration.

Being away from home also gives you ample time and space to think about the life you want to create for yourself, determining your next step.

3. Pick up new skills through courses

Is there a skill you would like to acquire, such as coding, or even cooking, drawing or playing a musical instrument? In your gap year, you can take up a few short courses to expose yourself to some skills, or choose to focus on mastering one particular skill.

You will be making a small investment in yourself with the course fee and get to learn from an experienced professional. When you’re in class, make it a point to clarify any doubts and do your best to commit by planning your time well.

With so many options which you can take up in your gap year, don’t forget to plan and prioritise so that you can make the most out of the time that you’re giving yourself! With these ventures, you’ll get a sense of direction through valuable experiences which help you reflect, projecting your future plans.