My gap year is a topic I’ve touched on quite a lot on the blog, but I thought this would be a good post to a) give you a little update on where I am at right now and b) go into my distance learning, which goes hand-in-hand with my gap year.
The main purpose of my gap year is to resit my A level exams that I missed, for this reason my gap year isn’t being spent with a go pro attached to my chest and whisking off to a different destination every month (although, I have had a few holidays!).
In all honesty, I was so focused on working towards my exams I didn’t think of what else I could spend my time doing, it was a bit daunting going into the start of my gap year with so many options and free time, that’s where distance learning comes in.
I enrolled on a Psychology A-level course through distance learning (due to a few hiccups and a trip to a&e I am resitting my exams in the summer of this year). Essentially, distance learning is like an online sixth form (minus the smelly common room).
You apply and pay for your chosen course (mine being Psychology), you are then sent the essential documents, leaflets, names of textbooks, dates of your exams and you’re free to go!You’re able to learn a full A level at your own pace, in the comfort of your bed in your pj’s (although, I wouldn’t advise this if you actually want to get somewhere). Even though, you have the luxury of taking your time to complete the course, you are given a deadline of 18 months to fully complete your chosen course.
Honestly, time management is an IMPORTANT part of distance learning, as you’re ‘your own boss’ if you like, you can essentially decide yourself when you start or stop studying and when to take days off etc. The only way to tackle all your content head-on is with a GOOD plan and this can only be achieved by time management, you need to be able to dedicate hours and days on teaching yourself the content, making sure you understand what you’ve learnt and also leaving time for exam prep, this all came pretty naturally to me as I’m an organised person I liked having a routine and plan to stick to. The only part I found difficult, was the idea of teaching myself content without the aid of a teacher or other students in a classroom environment, at first I managed to deal with this on my own, however on starting this gap year I decided to take on tuition to help me with certain topics which I needed a little refresh on, but nevertheless the work is still very much weighted on myself.
I have really learnt to love my own company and as you can imagine it does get quite lonely being cooped up in your room studying away, so I do try to change up my own environment where I study (like libraries and coffee shops), I’ve realised a lot about myself and where/how I work my best, I’ve found my own niche and how to work at my best.
Distance learning is probably the best decision I made, it made me get away from a horrible atmosphere in my sixth form and it opened doors to me getting into university (in September, fingers crossed). It may not be for everyone, but for me it has led me to study an interesting (yet challenging) subject and work part-time and volunteer at various services (a post on this will be up soon).
I have really enjoyed learning a whole new A-level at my leisure, my exams are in the next two months and stress levels are at an all-time high, but I feel so proud to know I made the decision to go through this path of learning.