3 Tricks to to Stay on Track During a Gap Year

Here's this week's confession from a senior at Duke University in NC:

"I took some really tough and stressful courses last year and as a result, I ended up drinking a lot on Thursdays nights and during the weekend to get all that academic stress off my mind. Only now, I'm deep into summer and I'm a lot less stressed but I'm still drinking just as much as I used to, maybe even a little more."

Rajul's Take:

Don't worry - this is a really common concern. You need to use your judgment on this one. I mean, everyone wants to have fun in the summertime, but is it to the point where you can't have fun without drinking? If that's the case, definitely cut down and - I hate to sound like a mom but - make sure you've always got a sober DD when you're out.


The term “Gap Year” refers to people (at any age) whom want to take a year off from schooling. During “Gap Year,” people can travel the world, work fulltime, or virtually do anything that they want for a ‘year.’ In the United States, some people participate in Gap Year, but it’s more prominent in European countries. There are so many things that you can do during your Gap Year: travel the world or experience a volunteer program!

When you’re traveling and experiencing new things, you grow as a person and become cultured experiencing your very own #YOLO moments. Live your dreams! Just remember, staying on track is key if you plan to go to undergraduate or graduate school. Here’s some tips to stay on track!

#1. Make a Realistic Goal List

One of the biggest tips we have is to make a realistic goal list to help you stay on track when you’re in your Gap Year. The harsh reality is that Gap Year is only a year, and it will come to an end. Having a plan when you’re done with Gap Year will help you from slacking when you’re near the end of your Gap Year. Make a list of 3-5 realistic goals you have. Do you want to live at home and attend school? Or do you want to move away? What kind of school do you want to go to? What’s your budget for a school? Today, school is more expensive than ever, even with scholarships. Strategically planning where you’re going to go to school is crucial for your future. Try also making goals that are unrelated to school. Why don’t you try something new every month? Or invest in a hobby that you always wanted to try? The possibilities are endless!

#2. Keep a Journal Through the Year

Keeping a journal while you’re in Gap Year can help you decide what you want when you’re experiencing Gap Year. Keep a journal of your thoughts, ideas, and events that happen all around you. You may uncover yourself and find what you’d like to do for your career when you’re in Gap Year!

#3. Budget Your Money

Being abroad or in your country traveling can get expensive. During Gap Year, make sure that you keep a budget so you don’t go over your budget, or worse—get in debt. I’ve heard horror stories of one student who ran out of money and had to have their parents sent money so they could travel back home. You can avoid this by constantly tracking your spending. It sounds tedious but you would know everything you’re spending your money on and how to keep track!

We hope these tips help you during your Gap Year! Have fun, be safe, and make sure to set your goals to help you stay on track!

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!