Many people (at least the ones I know) who took a year off planned it that way. Upon graduating, they had jobs or internships lined up . My year off didn’t end up like that. Originally I had planned to apply to graduate schools the fall of my last year of college. Unfortunately, because of personal issues, that didn’t happen. So during my last quarter of school, I thought that I would just find a science job either in my college town or near home and work for a year.
Oh was I naive. By graduation (March), I still did not have a job lined up. I was still hoping to find something biology related so I could beef up my graduate applications come fall. Luckily in April, one of my undergraduate advisers asked me if I wanted to work as a lab/field tech for one of her graduate students. So even though I was at at the bottom of the totem pole and got work no one else wanted, it was laboratory and field experience that I felt I needed. The position was temporary, ending in September.
So while I working in the lab, I continued to look for lab and field jobs. September came and I heard nothing. So I continued to apply to lab jobs as well as anything I could think of. That mostly consisted of restaurants and retail positions. I have not found anything full time, but I have been tutoring a couple of high school students a couple of hours each week since October. It doesn’t bring in a lot of money, but hopefully this experience will make the transition from student to TA easier. Last week I was hired to tutor students at my undergraduate university. I don’t have a number of set hours, but usually people work about 10 hours a week.
I am still looking for full time lab/field positions, but spending a lot of time applying to full time positions outside of science. I am thinking of a plan B in case I don’t get into graduate school and need to find a more permanent job. Mostly, I have been reading, though I hope to find some people who will talk to me about non-lab/field positions (through informational interviews).
For those of you who took a year off, what did you do?