Friday, 25 January 2013

Another 365 Idea - Blogging

As part of our work with our gappers, we set out to create a journey document.  In this document, we capture, from start to finish, the growth, experience and milestones each of our gappers accomplish through their 365 experience with us.

Last week, we shared some ideas about how to capture your year.   Another idea, is blogging.   One of our gappers who is having an amazing year thus far has provided us with one of her blogs to showcase how she captures her experience through reflection.  She explores her experience with our coaching and using EQ/Emotional Intelligence as a means of growing into herself, and the person she wants to be.   Being part of this journey is incredible.   We can tell that this one is going to move some mountains! (Dr. Seuss reference)

  Let's visit a short blog from her site:

Reflection time

Thanks to mygapyear I've had so much time to reflect on myself and figure out all sorts of things I've always wanted to know about. I've figured out how I work best, how I have a hard time dealing with stress and how I'm really self critical. All things I would have never had time to think about or realized if I had kept forging full steam ahead into the future. And just these small realizations are making all the difference to how I operate. I always thought that I would need to fully understand the things I want to work on about myself and then take action to begin to change them. Turns out just realizing more about myself is the biggest action of all. Guess they weren't lying when they said "knowledge is power". (I had to throw at least one cheesy reference to that phrase in there). I'm so excited to put all this new self understanding to good use!

So, how are you capturing this year? Share on our facebook group, or @mygapyear!   We want to hear how you are making your mark on 2013.   Learning to grow into yourself and gathering an understanding is certainly a huge part of a gap year - but it can be part of your year with or without a gap year.

How do you measure a year?  Cups of Coffee?

Friday, 18 January 2013

Ring in 2013 - Resolve those Resolutions

How Can We Make Them Stick? 

Where did you ring in the New Year?  Was it on a sandy beach, at home cozy by a fire, toasting champagne in Paris or in bed sick with a cold?  Countless people toast to a New Year with a wave of celebration from Austrailia back to North America.   Annually, individuals reckon with themselves and join forces with others to adopt new habits, and bring in the new whilst kicking out the "old".

Where did this idea of making resolutions start?  In a quick review of sources, since 2000 BC, Babylonians would hold festivals and two points in the year: spring and fall equinox.    Historically, they would pay of debts and return borrowed goods.  Fast forward a few centuries, when the Romans reformed the calendar, January 1st became the day of new beginnings.  This was in honour of Janus.

Symbols of New Years are everywhere - from the sale of themed items, to the need for a new outfit and ensuring you have scheduled an unforgettable night with friends, family, and hopefully, a midnight kiss.

We call ourselves, out of tradition, to make changes in the New Year.  Most of them are, in fact, self changes or behavioural changes.  I am going to share some alternatives to the ever daunting and rarely achieved   New Year's Resolution.

4 ways to help make 'em stick!

1. Yearly Review - more exciting than it sounds! 

Start by celebrating the past year.  2012 was amazing for me - and I am sure it was full of memories, both positive and negative that have informed how you might chose to live out 2013.

Why not try a Year in Review:  From Get Busy Living: Your Year in Review:

My Tip:  Find a beautiful journal and keep it all your years in review in one spot.   Reflect each year on your highs, lessons, and things that you are grateful for.

2.  Changing the Language in your resolutions making:

 We can often say things like:  I will not going to each junk food this year.  I will not be mean to my kids.
In changing how we construct these ideas, we change how we approach the situation or goal.  Peter Gasca shares more about this in his  5 Anti-Resolutions for 2013    Try reading more this year --- a reverse to: I have to watch less TV.

3.  Picking a Theme Rather than Goals.  

This is my personal favourite.   In the past my theme has been to Live Boldy.   I picked up the idea when I started to purchase a certain line of agendas.  They each had wonderful quotes on them which help me to keep focused for that year, instead of drifting away from my silly lists of goals, and behaviour changes.

4. 1 Word and 365 Challenges

365 - take a photo, try something new or capture what you do each day.   You can do this in a journal, by opening a photo account like instagram or flickr so that your photos are housed off of your phone (in case you misplace it).   There are so many variations of this - make your own, or find something online to inspire you!

Here are my final picks.  One word & 365 challenges.   Below is a video that tells you more about how to incorporate the idea of having one word for an entire year.  Much like the quote or theme for your year, you just pick one word to live out, through and with for the year to come.   There are organizations that walk you through the process, you can find it in this video.  I haven't used a company before, and I am not sure you have to.  This guy does a great job of sharing the idea in more detail.

Share with us in the comment box what you do - or feel free to find us on Facebook and start a convo there!

Happy New Year - from mygapyear!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Law School+Gap Years

Consider Benefits, Consequences of Gap Years Between College and Law School

Some students might benefit from a few years off between college and law school.
Some students might benefit from a few years off between college and law school.

Law schools do not require any prior work experience. However, many applicants take at least one year off after college before matriculating.

I actually took four years off between my undergraduate and JD/MBA studies. Here are some pros and cons of taking time off before attending law school.

• More time for LSAT prep and applications: During college, you spend much of your time studying and writing papers, so finding enough extra time for LSAT preparation and essay writing can be a challenge.
By delaying the law school application process, you can ensure that you devote enough time to your preparation so that you reach your full LSAT score potential and compose the best possible essays, which are critical to winning a spot in your dream school.

•New essay topics: If you have been struggling to come up with compelling essay topics, you may benefit from gaining more life experience.
For example, doing a service program after college, like education-focused Teach For America and City Year, can give you the specific examples of leadership and overcoming obstacles that will differentiate your essays.
[Find out how to use news to customize your essays.]

• More savings: If you work for a couple years before law school, you can use that time to save money and lessen the financial burden of law school tuition and living expenses when you enroll.
Entry-level jobs may not always pay particularly well, but any money you can save will definitely help.

[Learn how to negotiate law school financial aid awards.]

• More perspective: After working for a year or two, you may realize that instead of going into law you actually want to pursue business and obtain an MBA or go into government and obtain an MPA. You may even decide that graduate school is not the right path for you.
Having this extra time to gain real-world work experience after college can give you more perspective and help you decide if law school is truly right for you.

•Tough job market: While the economy is in recovery, jobs are still not readily available for all recent college graduates. As a result, finding a fulfilling job with a JD from a top school in three years will likely be easier than finding such a job right out of college.
[Find employers hiring grads from your college.]
If you are already certain that you want to go to law school and you have no specific reason to delay, starting right after college can be beneficial as you can start focusing on your long-term career immediately.

• Loss of motivation: If you are able to find compelling employment after college, you may lose some of the motivation to go to law school that may have felt strong while you were sitting in political science or philosophy classes in college.
A stable job with regular paychecks often brings with it a comfortable lifestyle. If you enjoy your job and it offers growth opportunity, law school may seem like less of a priority.

• More time to fill: Law schools prefer not to see substantial gaps in your résumé. If you take time off after college, you will need to fill that time with jobs, volunteer programs, or other activities.
You will need to be as active after graduation as you were during college. Leadership positions you held in college will not be as valuable in your applications a few years later if you have not held similar positions with, for example, nonprofit organizations since then.

• Loss of momentum: During college, you spend most weekends and nights studying and writing papers. If you start working after college, you may grow used to the opposite schedule of working during the day and having nights and weekends to yourself.

Since your first year law school grades are essential to your professional opportunities after law school, you do not want to falter in the beginning as you are readjusting to an academic lifestyle.