So it's your first September in years not being a full-time student. How's that going?

Whether you've been planning a gap year since grade 9 or you just feel that you've chosen the least-sucky option for a global pandemic, this September likely feels different than many others. You might be seeing your peers "go off" to university or college (either actually moving out or just starting a new virtual chapter of their lives) — or you might be feeling stuck in an unhealthy pattern of sleeping late and binging way too much Netflix.

The truth is a gap year is an amazing opportunity, if you take advantage of it. You can check things off your bucket list, build skills and credentials, test out career paths, and build a network of amazing mentors and guides. You'll also have the opportunity to really dig into the things that interest you in a way you might never be able to do as a full-time student or employee. So let's make the most of it!

Three tips for gap year success

The Canadian Gap Year Association wants to share a few tips to make sure you are setting yourself up for a year full of memories, milestones and excitement:

1) Set some goals for yourself.

We hate S.M.A.R.T. goals. Gap year goals should be outside-the-box. We suggest that you answer the following questions to start creating your goals:

  • How do I want to be different at the end of this year? What will I know? Who will I have met? What will I have experienced? What skills will I have built?
  • What do I need to do to set my future up for success? Do I need a specific skill? Certification? Do I need to spend time figuring out who I want to be when I grow up?
  • What is going to excite me about this year? What will I be telling my grandkids stories about? What will motivate me to get out of bed each morning?

2) Build a community.

Get connected with other people on gap years or alum who have been in your shoes before. Make new friends that have similar interests even if they are from a different generation. Find a mentor to act as your cheerleader and accountability buddy for the year. Share ideas, resources and make plans with other gappers.

3) Find out what you CAN do.

  • Don't believe what the media says about there not being any jobs out there. There are lots — or you can start your own business.
  • Volunteering opportunities are everywhere — some are listed on websites, others you can find through your community and others you can create for yourself. Check out The Gap Year Podcast for more on this topic.
  • Travel domestically. Even if the borders are closed, there is so much to explore in our own province or country. We are lucky to live in a country with so much diversity in culture, geography and history so get out there and explore.
  • Take on a passion project. Find something that you have always wanted to do and make it happen. Fix up an old car, learn how to sell your photography online, learn an instrument, launch a fundraiser for a charity of your choice, contribute to your local climate action group or support the BLM movement.

If you need help with any of this, a great place to start is Gap Year Frosh Week — a 3-night event filled with entertainment, inspiration and information to make sure you are launching your gap year right. With 3 keynotes, 12 workshops, an improv show, trivia night and a coffee house, there's no better way to feel confident about your upcoming year.

Join us September 15-16-17, 2020 from 9 pm - midnight EST!

If you miss this, be sure to check out our other upcoming events at

Get involved with Gap Year Frosh Week!