Gap Year

Are your kids thinking about taking a gap year after High School? Are they undecided what to major in college?

If I was a parent, I would encourage my child(ren) to go out, take hospitality or remote job, explore, and travel. These are the experiences that they would not get by reading books or living vicariously from other people’s experiences. I know that it could be hard to let them go but I truly believe that the younger they start, the better. 

Have you heard of WWOOF? I think doing this volunteer work will help them develop their social skills, learn about agriculture, and other real-life experiences. They will also learn how to live simple life, appreciate the nature, and learn different culture(s). Thanks to the hitch hikers whom I gave a lift to in New Zealand -- for introducing me to this wonderful program. I sure learned a lot listening to their inspiring stories. 

Another good reference or inspirational resource is a book called “Dishwasher Pete” to learn and be inspired by Pete Jordan’s journey from washing dishes in every state in America.

If they are undecided what to major in college, I would encourage them to explore and take advantage of the free online resources or do a running start at a technical college. They will save time and big $$$ -- possibly unnecessary loans. The best thing is they can do this while WOOFing around the world! 

Here are some resources where they could get started with.

  • Codecademy - For Front End Web Development path, I recommend HTML/CSS, Responsive Design, Bootstrap (and other optimization frameworks), Javascript, etc. When you are done, check out our Cloud-based IDE at Sitecast to rapidly build and deploy your first site!
  • MIT 
  • Stanford
  • Oxford 
  • Coursera and much more ....

Teach them how to search online:

Here is how to Google and actually find what you are searching for. 

Most importantly, talk to them about financial planning. DEBT is evil and could ruin lives. Encourage them not to get a loan, if they can avoid it. If needed, help them plan on how they could repay the loan after college. Guide them to do the research about the career they are hoping to pursue — average income for entry level in that profession. Will the profession be in-demand after they completed the course? Do they need to get a degree for the profession or is it trade skills? 

Be there to help them internalize that there is no such thing as free money. Back in my college days, I was fortunate to have received generous amount of scholarships and grants that covered my tuition expenses. I decided to still work full time hours with a fear of losing the resources that was given to me. I understand that not everyone have that window of opportunities. 

Encourage them to ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, live below their means and to be mindful on how they are spending their time, money, effort, and resources. 

Introduce them to peers or mentors who could help guide them and be their role model. 

Be courageous, be bold, and keep having fun. 

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