September 16, 2015 The term gap year, which might also be called a sabbatical year, is used to describe the period after finishing school and before starting university or college. It might also be used to refer to the time spent before going to graduate school after earning a bachelor degree as an undergraduate. This is a time when most people focus their efforts on advanced educational courses, non-academic studies, volunteer work, sports, internships, learning a trade, art studies and more. Using your gap year for positive change in the world is recommended and done by many. There are numerous ways to go about making positive changes in the world. Some people might take this time off school and work to dedicate to other passions in their lives. Often time this includes volunteer work, travel, getting involved with the community and doing other stuff that benefits more than themselves. My personal experience with this was when I spent time as a volunteer in Malawi, and I know how rewarding it is, not only for the local communities, but also for my own personal development. Gap years are often seen as a time for students to learn responsibility and become more independent, which can benefit them during their college years. Most people strive to make this time productive. They may use it as an opportunity to help others while also sharpening their skills, learning new things and gaining experiences. This may be different for every person. In fact, the year can be comprised of whatever a person wants. Volunteering is a common way that people spend this time. It is a way to be productive and promote positive changes within the world. People may do this close to home. While a lot of people enjoy traveling to other countries to offer help, there is a lot that can be done within the local or state community, as well as the home country of the student. This type of work is rewarding and can show the commitment, compassion and dedication a person has. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for them to gain contacts, experience and maybe even get their foot in the door in a particularly industry or workforce. People can also do volunteer work abroad. People living in America may find that there is a greater need for their assistance in other, less-developed countries. They might feel as though their impact is more significant in another country. This also gives them the opportunity to visit or experience a new place and what it has to offer. Being well-traveled is a great trait for a person to have. Furthermore, the experience of traveling alone or with others can mature an individual and provide them with many take-away lessons. Not all work has to be done for free. People can intern and get jobs to gain more experience. This type of work can still initiate positive change in the world, depending on the type of duties one has. In any case, people can find ways that their involvement can help others. It is recommended that people spend this time stepping out of their comfort zone. Trying new and different thing is one way that people can grow as people. The knowledge and experience one gains can be used to help others as well. Learning a new skill and putting it to use is another way to initiate positive change and development during this time off. Some might choose to learn something that applies to a future goal or endeavor. Others might take this as an opportunity to find out how to do something they have always been passionate about. Regardless, people should challenge themselves to find one or more ways that they can use a new skill to promote something positive. This year is meant to help an individual prepare for what is to come or enjoy time to explore various avenues. While most people focus entirely on themselves and what they want to do, there are numerous ways that people can improve themselves and also help others. People looking to be productive during their sabbatical time should consider how everything that they can do may be used to help another person. This is one small step that can make a big difference. Positive change in the world comes in many forms. All types of people dedicate their lives and free time to do this. To be successful, a person has to feel self-motivated and passionate about the change they hope to bring. A lot can be done in the course of a year. Furthermore, people may find that the work they have done during the gap year is so rewarding that they want to continue it. Many times this period is when people learn the most about who they are and what they want to do with their lives.