South Africa

Not studying after matric? Here’s how you can make the most of your gap year

Gap year

Your time is precious, why waste it? While sitting around and doing nothing might sound like brilliant idea after twelve years of learning, it’s not.

As the release of matric results looms on the horizon, matriculants are exploring various avenues – trying to decide what to do after high school.

Although going to university or college may seem like the default route for most pupils, others might not have the luxury of going to tertiary after matric.

Whether by choice or circumstance, some matriculants might end up taking a gap year. However, it’s not the end of the world.

If you’re planning to take a gap year, here’s how you can make the most of it.

Starting a hustle

If the saying ‘time is money’ is anything to go by, then a gap year should be your a chance to convert those free hours into cash.

Starting a hustle is great way to stay busy while generating income to sustain yourself. The best starting point would be to identify a need in your community, and then provide a service accordingly.

If entrepreneurship is something you’re really passionate about, then it might be worth exploring. Who knows, your enterprise could even be the next top employer.

ALSO READ: SA’s ‘side hustle generation’: 3 reasons gigging is the next big thing and 5 reasons it’s not

Getting a job

Getting a job can be an excellent way to gain work experience and add some references to your curriculum vitae (CV).

While searching for employment straight out of high school can be daunting, it could prove to be rewarding – especially when you land your first job.

Not only will you get to enjoy the independence of paying your own bills, but you’ll also hone your discipline while boosting your employability in the long run.

ALSO READ: Five tips for young jobseekers

Internships and learnerships

There are plenty of internships and learnership opportunities available to the youth. Browsing through the internet, you might find programmes that are well-suited for you.

If you have an idea which career path you’d like to pursue following your gap year – it might be useful to explore learnership opportunities in that particular field. That way, you’ll get some practical experience and training even before going to tertiary.

Truth is, you’ll never lose anything from embarking on a learning opportunity. Instead, the knowledge gained could come in future.

ALSO READ: Essential advice for young people in the workplace


You can also put your precious time to good use by volunteering at a local organisation.

Most non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are usually short-stuffed and in need of an extra pair of hands, so lending yours could a long way.

Apart from gaining work experience, you might also find it rewarding to help someone in need.

READ MORE: How volunteering can help you to do better at work