Ten Ways to Spend Your Gap Semester in the Covid-19 Era

Your gap semester is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something that’s important to you – whether that’s an internship in the field you want to pursue, a trip you’ve always wanted to take, or a life-changing volunteer opportunity. But this year is anything but normal, with the Covid-19 pandemic making it difficult to plan a traditional gap semester experience. We asked our academic advisors for creative ideas about safe ways to make the most out of your gap semester this year.

Opt Outside

The crisp autumn months are the perfect time to get outside and breathe some fresh air. Look up hiking trails in your area, spend time at the beach during the less busy fall months, or visit a state or national park. Fill up on time in nature before heading to the city in January!

Volunteer for an Election Campaign

The 2020 election season is shaping up to be one of the most consequential of our lifetime. As a new voter, now is the perfect time to get involved in the democratic process! From local state representative races, to Congress, to the Presidential race, find a candidate who supports what you believe in and dedicate some time each week to volunteering for their campaign. Many candidates have options to make phone calls or send text messages from home!

Learn for Fun

Is there a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about, but never had the time? Now you do! Websites like Khan Academy, MasterClass, Coursera, and EdX offer hundreds of courses on every subject under the sun – and many of them are free! Take advantage of the semester at home to take one class in a topic that interests you.

Take a Socially-Distanced Road Trip

Just because many traditional gap semester travel experiences are off the table doesn’t mean that you can’t still find ways to explore during your gap semester. Plan a safe getaway with a socially-distanced road trip to see a new city, explore a national park, or visit family or friends. Be sure to mask up and abide by any state-mandated travel protocols!

Volunteer to Help Those In Need

The Covid-19 pandemic and associated economic crisis mean that many people in your community are struggling. If you have the resources to do so, there are plenty of opportunities to safely volunteer by delivering food to those in need, sewing masks to donate, or checking in with seniors in need of distanced companionship. Volunteering can be among the most meaningful things you can do with a gap semester, and with so many people in need now, it’s a great time to help out.

Become a Creator

If you’ve always thought about starting a YouTube channel, launching a blog, or becoming a TikTok influencer, now is your opportunity. Building up an online following is hard work, and now may be one of the only times you can fully dedicate yourself to getting started. Adriana Rodriguez (‘CGS 21) used her gap semester to launch a blog that now has sponsors and tens of thousands of visitors. Check out her Instagram takeover for inspiration.

Run a Virtual Race

In the past, many students have used their gap semester to crush a 10k or marathon. Just because many in-person races are canceled this fall doesn’t mean you can’t still commit to your own race goal! Search for virtual races to participate in, or plan your own route and run one yourself. Committing to a regular training schedule will give you something to work toward, get you outside, and add structure to your gap semester.

Start a Book Club

Now is the perfect time to start a reading habit, before your time gets taken up by mandatory readings for class! Commit to reading one book a month, and invite friends and family members to join you for regular discussions. It’s a great way to stay connected during the fall semester.

Person pulling a book from a shelf in a library

Help Out A Small Business

Small businesses all over the world are struggling during the pandemic, and many would welcome a bit of extra help. Take stock of any skills you have to offer — writing, photography, videography, advertising — and see if any small businesses in your area are looking for help. You could volunteer to manage their Instagram account, help them adjust their space to new regulations, or assist working parents by providing childcare. You’ll get a great resume booster while also helping support the local economy.

Start a Side Hustle

Putting away some extra money before coming to campus is always a good idea. And now, there’s more ways than ever to earn a side income from the comfort of your home! Sell your old clothes on Poshmark or ThredUp, start an Etsy store, or launch a virtual tutoring business. You’ll have some money set aside to explore Boston, and may even be able to turn your gap semester hobby into an ongoing side hustle.

Closeup of a planner that says "make it happen!"

Already know how you’re planning to spend your gap semester? Tag @bucgs in a post on social media with #My100Days, or email us at cgscomm@bu.edu to share your plans!