Most college graduates are ready for a gap year between getting their degree and continuing on to graduate work, or even between high school and freshman year in college. It’s a time to rest up and prepare for what lies ahead, but if used wisely, that year could make or break your chances of getting into your university of choice. Even if you get your degree in a non-traditional way, such as through an online EDD degree program, that gap year can be used to your advantage and in the process you might even make a difference in the world around you. In light of recent events in the Caribbean, why not do some gap year volunteering in the wake of Matthew?
Gap Year Volunteering Is Almost Expected in Some Disciplines
There are actually some disciplines that either require volunteer work or at the very least look highly favorably on students who have volunteered a great deal of their time during their college career. Take for example a student who is in an online doctor of education in higher education leadership course of study. Leaders are expected to be just that – leaders, and what kind of leader would you be if you didn’t step up to the plate when there was a critical need for volunteers?
The Death Toll and Devastation Continues to Climb
In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Matthew that struck the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, Haiti, with 140+ mph winds, the death toll was calculated at about 180 deaths in that nation alone. However, many of the country’s hardest hit villages are in outlying areas that even in the best of times have poor cellular connectivity. With towers down and infrastructure in ruins, there is now a total absence of communications, which makes it difficult to know just how many died during the fury of Matthew.
It is still estimated that Haiti will see at least 800 deaths before all is said and done and some projections put that number well over 1,000. This is the perfect type of gap year volunteering for a graduate student (or prospective grad student) because your work can be the barrier between life and death for residents of that tiny, poverty stricken island nation.
When Gap Year Volunteering Is Only Partly Altruistic
There is another side to gap year volunteering that you should be aware of as well. When faced with two applications from two equally promising graduate school candidates, universities will weigh heavily on the side of the one that gave up a year of their life to serve others in need. When seen from the eyes of a college administrator, volunteering makes good sense. Bear in mind that the entirety of the professional world of academics is underpaid and underappreciated. Other professions with equal degrees under their belts bring in 2 to 3 times as much money so academics often see their lifestyle as one of a volunteer.
Educators are passionate about what they do and that’s why they look favorably on those equally willing to give of their time and talents for others. Not only will you get a better appreciation for other cultures, but you will learn something about being humble. You will see another side of life that isn’t what you’re used to here at home and you will make someone’s life that much better. Looking to enter the world of academia with that coveted EDD? Gap year volunteering in the wake of Matthew is a step in the right direction.