May 2020

What Students Can Do On A Gap Year During The Pandemic

As speculation builds over how many students will show on college campuses in the fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession—some projections now suggest colleges could lose up to 20% of students—questions are mounting about how students will use the time away from school.

In my last piece, I suggested that rather than see it as a year off, students ought to view it as a year “on purpose” to discover their passions and purpose and how they can best contribute to the world. I offered a variety of suggestions for how students could spend the time during a pandemic, including online projects and internships, online volunteering, online community and mentors, online courses, and volunteering on the front lines to help amidst the health crisis.

New York University Professor Scott Galloway has suggested that the United States build a “Corona Corps” in which students “would be trained in modern handheld technologies that provide facile, crisp communication and organization skills that arrest geometric spread. In addition, Corps members could become apprentices for jobs in key parts of the supply chain we now deem essential (delivery, warehouse workers, etc.). … With an ageist Covid-19, the Corps would be a fighting force with powers of defense no other cohort has.” The Corona Corps would allow its individuals to “marinate and mature”—and, I would add, use this crucible to develop their leadership capacity.


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