You have a dream: it can be either traveling abroad, or doing a career you would love, or launching your own venture, or maybe all of them together. You are not sure, though. You lack of confidence, experience, and skills.
Perhaps, you need a smooth transition like a gap year between your high school and future college to provide you some little steps towards your goal. However, don’t spend the whole year on one thing; plunge into several experiences, and spend almost no money.
Here is how.
- Go to a conference. Choose a topic you like and apply. Be it a POP art gathering or International Economic Forum, you will meet some extraordinary people and, probably, become great friends. Except free cookies at coffee breaks, you will also see the world beyond your four walls, get inspiration from famous and successful people, and write down some valuable ideas.
- Apply for youth exchange or training. These usually take 3 to 10 days and make you fall out of life. In a good sense. Forget about Facebook, being ashamed, and any stereotypes. Get familiar with peers that are so different from you but cool in the same time; learn a challenging topic in a non-formal way, and get a lot of laugh every day.
- Request a grant. You will be surprised how much money is available for a good cause. What is more, you do not have to repay it back as a loan. Plan something little and beneficial for your local community, for instance, a vegetarian café that uses homegrown products, a youth club, or even a startup.
Expect to fail but think big! It will give you real life lessons (in practice people learn better) and entrepreneurial experience, which is so vital for taking a risk in future, and lead your bold ideas towards success.
- Exchange program is an experience which could be worth of any college degree. When you go to a different country, you a. Learn a new language; b. Understand another culture; c. Stop being ignorant about the world; d. Become independent; e. and more organized; f. open your mind to new opportunities which automatically upgrades your level of social skills; g. I could continue for alphabet long… Oh, and did I mention that government may actually pay for the whole your trip?
- Volunteering. This is a big one even with small actions. When you work for free because you believe in the idea, you start to reevaluate your ambitions and what a real wealth is. After all, human relations mean a lot and you will come across it all your life. By helping someone, you actually invest in your future, as you never know when somebody else will help you, too. The truth is that you need to feed the circle of kindness and “pay it forward.”
Let me assure you that after you partake in at least one of experiences described above, people will constantly refer to you as an interesting person. You will not have to make a science fiction out of your resume anymore, and a wide range of connections will appear on a horizon.
This was a brief introduction to what these experiences mean to you personally. Get your BONUS: decoding them in the context of employment.
How employer would perceive your participation in one of the above mentioned activities:
- Conferences – intelligent, dedicated;
- Youth exchange, training – active, socially involved, easily integrates in a team;
- Won grants – achieves results, leader, up to challenges;
- Exchange program – [a big plus] flexible, easily adapts, open-minded, fast learner;
- Volunteering – loyal, socially responsible.
The next question might be: How to find these opportunities? Well, I would gladly provide you with direct links to resources. Just give me a hint on Twitter @wac_startup
Denys Andrushchenko is a founder and CEO at World At Competition, a platform of opportunities.