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How to avoid the ‘gap yah’ cliché this summer!  By Jodie Molneux


You are now only wearing one pair of socks to bed and it’s no longer physically painful to go out without a coat….yes, that’s right, it’s Scottish summertime!

happy young woman with a city map and a backpack smiling

happy young woman with a city map and a backpack smiling

To those of you out there still blessed with several month long summers, there are several options open to you (not including the ever-tempting Netflix binge). It can become difficult to avoid the ‘gap yah’ trope and so, in efforts to avoid becoming a cliché here are a few suggestions on how to spend your precious free months in a worthwhile and ethical way.

  1. summer jobs

I understand it may not be the most appealing idea in the world, but a worthwhile one I can guarantee! The benefits of getting a part-time job go far beyond the extra pocket money too, though it certainly is a sweetener when you are able to buy your own makeup/food/taxis (delete as applicable!). Working during your school years looks fantastic on a CV; it shows college and university staff in future applications that you are hard working, reliable and that you have one eye on your academics but the other on real world, business skills. The skills learnt at a summer or part-time job are often ones that can’t be acquired at school, such as cash handling and the all important customer service skills (working in retail is often a lesson in biting your tongue!). Aside from the obvious monetary benefits and the invaluable skills learnt, working at a summer job can also expand your friendship circles and you may find yourself working alongside people you may not have met otherwise…..connections connections!


  1. traveling/inter-railing

Ok, so I may not have convinced all of you to spend your summer days working behind a till…many students set their sights on more exotic locations than the local shopping centre.  Planning a summer trip volunteering abroad is a massively popular choice across the UK; not only does it promise adventure, travel and possibly sunshine, but also the chance to ‘give back’ to communities in need. However, good intentions and enthusiasm can very often be misplaced and even exploited, so extreme caution should be taken when planning such trips. The trend of ‘voluntourism’ is now big money and touring companies charge thousands of pounds for the privilege of traveling to the poorest communities, and though it is a hard pill to swallow as a wide-eyed student, but not all companies or non-profit organizations are doing honest and necessary work. It is important therefore to do your research, such as looking at problems facing your interest area and asking the volunteering organization the right questions, for example “where is my money going?” and “how is the organization working with the community?”[1]. If researched thoroughly, and you can be sure that the work will make a positive impact in the community, the trip may well change your perspective on a lot of things and could be the trip of a lifetime!