Trust me, I'm incredibly grateful for my education. This includes the power, discipline, and knowledge that comes with being a Scarlet Knight. However, as I approach my 22nd birthday, I'm experiencing a pre-quarter-life-crisis. I've been in "crunch time" for the past eight years, from taking AP classes in high school to conquering 4.0 GPA season every semester. However, my life is flashing before my eyes. Once I graduate, I am thrilled to start living my life outside of the classroom, because I earned my gap-year, with physical, mental and social expenses.
My mind and body need a break from work-overload
During the semester, my body is in constant fight-or-flight mode, with a running mind in an infinite race, and an omnipresent to-do list. According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, anxiety-ridden college students are simultaneously on the rise with mental illness diagnoses, such as depression. "Crunch time" is slowly killing us, mentally and physically. I want to live past 30 without health complications caused by chronic college stress. I need a temporary leave from work-overload.
My love for learning will reignite
Similar to how some couples need to take a "break" from eachother just to reunite in the future, my organized breakup with school will rekindle my current exhausted drive for learning.
I'm ready to start living my life outside of the classroom
I'm capable of doing more than memorizing quizlets and creating color-coded calendars. Rutgers helped me develop my discipline and time management skills, but I'm ready to transition from a professional student to a professional life-liver; to use my brain to learn how to play an instrument, start a hobby beyond making flashcards, begin my career, and to finally turn my group chats off from "do not disturb." Rutgers helped prepare me with the skills, and now I'm ready to use them in action before my graduate school comeback.
Don't let the stigma of taking a gap year scare you away from the true mental and physical benefits of it. Unless you love the constant state of chronic stress, take the gap-year and let your love for knowledge reignite after a well-deserved break.
If you truly care about your education, you will get back on the constant crunch-mode wagon, but feeling refreshed with a rekindled passion for the process.