Coming from an ambitious family, and being quite into academics, I never did think that I would take a gap year in between my Medical studies. In fact, I remember laughing it off when people would occasionally suggest it to me. Hence it did come as a surprise to me, when I was just finishing up with my MBBS internship, that I would have to take a year off to study for my post graduate entrance exams.
It was then that I decided, if I was going to take a year off, I’d make sure I did more than stick to my initial plan of just studying, and that is just what I did. A gap year taught me, that 365 days is indeed a long enough time, to at least get started with many of my unfinished goals. Here’s what I did during my gap year :-
- I read books, both fiction and non fiction – Reading books in between my hectic academic schedule would make me feel guilty and less focused. But, during my gap year, I realized how much I had missed out on. Whether it was autobiographies, memoirs, personal help, inspirational books or even just a good story, every book had so much to say, and to think that had I missed out on so much reading all these years, was just sad!
2. I spent quality time with my family and close friends – Busy days at the hospital, left me exhausted and grumpy. I’d usually want to come back home and sleep it off, or spend an occasional free day indoors watching movies. But my gap year enabled me to strengthen my bond with my baby brother and parents, and my dearest Grandmum by spending quality time with them. I was also able to truly lend a listening ear to my friends and give them my full attention.
3. I traveled around the world – I opened my travel bucket-list to find most places unchecked and realized I had put all my travels on hold for quite a long time. With a lot of support and company from my friends and family, I was able to do an East Coast Road Trip in the USA, Visit Disney Land and Universal Studios in Florida, Go on a Mediterranean Cruise covering a lot of beautiful European ports including Rome, and head off on adventure trips to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Bali, Indonesia. These trips provided me with a lot of global exposure and opened my mind to a whole lot of cultures and possibilities.
4. I learnt new skills and picked up new hobbies – I made it a point during my gap year to hone my swimming skills, enabling me to take part in a lot of adventure activities and keep me fit. I joined yoga, and took a great deal of liking towards it. I finally attended workshops on topics that I was always interested in like Bonsai, cooking and even Tarot cards! I also assisted my mum in her clinic and picked up substantial medical and administrative skills.
5. I studied for my post graduate entrance exams – Its very essential, that during our gap year, we think of the next step in our future. This way, our gap year isn’t a full stop in the sentence of our career, but just a comma. Studying everyday for my entrance exams, kept me grounded, prevented anxiety, constantly reminded me of my main goal and ensured that I slept peacefully with a mind that was satiated.
I’m nearing the end of my gap year, and I’m beginning to think, it was certainly the most fruitful year of my life so far! And I’m already looking forward to my gap year in my thirties.