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Final Year Fears: Gap year vs Grad Job

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Coming up to graduate season, the pressure is building, and the key question arises: where do I go next? After being in a form of education for the past 18 years, the graduation door is open, but the other side is unknown. For many graduates, there are two basic routes: Graduate job or gap year. Do I get straight into the career world and finally put theory into practice, or do I gain experience of the world after almost two decades contained in educative institutions?

The pull of career advancement, development of a passion and opportunity to earn and build finance could be an obvious answer for some. The desire to succeed or simply experience adulthood in all its difficulty and rewards. A freedom in one way – to gain employment knowledge and make a way towards financial independence. The grad job route although challenging to get to may provide a sense of purpose and certainty or even possibility after the routine and restraints that come with education.

Or…. Is it an opportunity to fly the nest, literally?

For some, the door from graduation is one to the train lines of Europe or a plane to absolutely anywhere on the Earth. The door is one of flight and newness of culture and environment. For some, the restraints of behaviour needed in education and careers are simply not appealing – to be free and as cliché as it seems to self-discovery. But a discovery of who you are when not in a known environment and how you react to challenges and pressures without support. The chance to experience an utter unknown and gain more of an independence of identity through discovering the unknown.

Despite the newness and challenges of the gap year, a graduate job is a world as untraversed as far corners of the world – just with different pressures. Thus, what is the difference? One provides the chance for a new experience and perspective globally, but the other new knowledge of a closer part of the world. One with the chance to gain new friends and develop existing relationships if you have a travel buddy. Yet the other also provides a chance for new friendship, but a bit closer to home. One stability and routine, the other possibility but probably still schedule. Each option has its own version of chance, opportunity, and development so perhaps the real question is how far to go? At home? Between planes? Both? Whichever; the door is open, and the chance is there.

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Elle A

Nottingham '23

Writer for Her Campus Nottingham. Lover of tea and Austen.