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The Other Side of an Academic Break

Sometimes I find life to be extremely monotonous and boring. People all around me seem to have developed a habit of continuously searching for something that keeps them engaged, even when they are doing perfectly fine. They want things to move in a succession; as soon as one thing gets over, they want the next best thing to come their way. I agree that this behaviour is justifiable. But I fail to understand why these people are so cynical about anybody who is taking a break in life for a while. Students, particularly, seem to have started taking life a tad too seriously.  If they do not find the right colleges, they get admitted into the wrong colleges simply because they think they cannot afford to lose a year. If they didn’t score well and couldn’t gain admissions into their preferred courses, they go for other, non-preferred courses. After graduation, when they start searching for jobs, if they cannot find the right jobs, they are pressured enough to take up the wrong jobs. They want to keep themselves involved somewhere or the other, without even considering whether such opportunities will benefit them or harm them or make no difference to their profiles and, more importantly, lives.

I feel that it is perfectly fine to take a gap, especially after having studied so hard for so many years in succession. Such a gap will offer them the wonderful opportunity to identify what all they want to do in their lives, and how they should start preparing for them. If they are already aware of their passions and interests, they should start looking out for opportunities which would assist them in getting where they want to be. They should find out about all the different colleges/institutions which offer programmes they want to pursue, and start preparing for the entrance exams. They should do internships with different organisation, or assist some family member, relative, or friend in their business and gain some practical, hands-on experience. They can even volunteer for youth organisations and NGOs and devote their time in community development. All these experiences add a lot of value and credibility to any student’s profile, thus enhancing their possibility of gaining admissions in their dream colleges or getting the right jobs.

On the other hand, if a student is not sure what he should pursue in the future, he can utilise a break by meeting career counsellors, researching on educational portals, visiting different colleges and universities and finding out all the potential courses and career fields that he can pursue. On the basis of his skills set, financial conditions and various other parameters, he can select the right option for himself.

Students can also spend this time in pursuing different vocations like painting, cooking, dancing, singing, swimming, photography, writing, etc. They can join short-term courses on personality development and improve their communication and other inter-personal skills.
One thing which any individual taking a sabbatical deserves is support from his/her parents. It is therefore the prerogative of the parents to stay optimistic about their child's future, and help him/her find a good place to study or work. Lastly, the students or professionals need to have faith in themselves. They must understand that dropping a year or six months now is far better than regretting the choices they’d make in hurry. And that motivation, perseverance, diligence and positivity is the key to success.

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Pranav Sukhija
Teacher of primary school children, counselor for many, perpetual thinker, voracious writer, avid (not greedy) reader, crazy dancer, joyful singer, wannabe guitarist, wannabe actor, wannabe chef, comfort food lover, nature lover, self-proclaimed photographer, ingenious explorer, Delhi boy who doesn't fulfill most of the assumed 'typical' Delhi boy qualities.


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