I'm Taking A Semester Off From College And That's Okay

I'm Taking A Semester Off From College And That's Okay

People are often looked down on for taking a break from college, but I don't care, I am doing what's best for me.


If you would have told me in high school that I would end up taking a semester off, I would have laughed in your face and denied it. I was always the type of person that was dead set on college, knew exactly what I was going to school for and was ready to dive in to complete my degrees on time, if not early, but that all changed.

My first two years of undergrad was great but exhausting and by the middle of the first semester my sophomore year, I wasn't sure if college was what I wanted to do anymore.

I was tired, lost motivation, and flat out just stopped caring; so after all that and medical stuff going on I decided it was time to finally take a break. I'm only a few months into my "break semester", but so far it has changed a lot in my life. I am in the middle of rediscovering who I am, where I want to be in a few years, and what truly makes me happy.

I have learned that my mental and physical health is most important. I was terrible at taking care of my health in all aspects; I never slept and if I did I overslept, I overworked myself mentally and physically in class, work, and at the gym.

I remember overall at one point in the semester I was working 62 hours a week on top of taking 16 seated credit hours. I used to chug energy drinks, take pills, and drink gallons of coffee to stay awake and get everything done until it literally gave me heart problems. I did not take care of myself, it was the least of my worries, I figured school was more important, but it is not.

Since taking the semester off, I have grown up a little bit. I no longer party. On Saturday nights you can catch me at the local Applebees serving or sitting on my couch at home petting my dog. I realized I liked being alone, doing chill things and just relaxing or making a little money rather than going out, boozing up and going to every social event.

Although I do miss my friends from school, purple Fridays and 1 am trips to Rally's after a big night out; I love being home with my family, working on my health, and just flat out having more time to myself. I have more time to think about and appreciate the little things in life. My goal for the end of this off semester is to come to the decision on whether I truly want to continue classes and if I do whether the path I was on with my majors is still what I want to do or whether my path will change.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.

As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs / Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out RedBubble for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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I'm A Completely Different Person After Freshman Year Compared To Who I Was Before College

I feel around 10 years old because college really puts a real-world perspective on things, where independence is key and no one is there to hold one's hand. It is your life and your life only. And, that just seemed so crazy. High school seemed way too long ago.


From last year to this year, I came into Rutgers scared of the amount of change that college would bring to my life. From the first couple of weeks, when my roommate and I were trapped on the weekend bus for 2 hours because we didn't understand how it worked, being drenched by torrential pouring during freshman convocation, and missing the football game because we couldn't buy tickets, college didn't seem like it was going to turn out well. And, several times in and out, it proved that it was going to live up to that shitty expectation.

However, I am glad to say (although it took a long time) that I have finally established a really good group of friends, made some awesome memories, and cannot regret how much I did get myself involved in Rutgers through various clubs and activities. This year, I got myself involved with the supply chain club BASE (Business Analytics for Supply Chain Expertise) and found exactly what major I wanted to do. In addition, I got myself involved with the Rutgers Ballroom Dancing club and did something I never thought I would ever do. Still, I suck at ballroom dancing, but there's so much room for improvement that three more years will definitely change.

And, for anyone who is still struggling to find out what major they should do, I really suggest that you join various clubs and activities around campus. Starting off with signing up for EVERYTHING you can at the involvement fair. And, I. MEAN. EVERYTHING. Especially as a business student that didn't know what she was doing at first, it is a great opportunity to just join and go to a couple of meetings. If the club or activity is not for you, you should leave. But, don't knock it till you try it.

My general advice for those of y'all coming in or still living through college is to just go for anything that you want to do. But, keep in mind rejection might be at the doorstep. Life and the real world displayed in college that it is necessary to develop that thicker upper layer. However, know that if you fail here, it's okay, there's so much more places you are going to fail. And, so many more places you will succeed. And, if people in life didn't fail, it just makes success less valuable.

And, also, remember to designate some alone time, which is super important because college is a series of interactions and running around to class, clubs, or work. It can get hectic and even if you aren't talking to people necessarily in each setting, it is SUPPERRR nice just to lay back once in a while and be ABSOLUTELY Alone. It helps recharge and being by yourself is sometimes a luxury if one has a roommate. From worrying about making friends or fitting in, to having a group of great friends that would surprise me on my birthday (a week before finals week), is more than I could have ever asked for.

And, when I look back, I've really aged from start to finish. I feel around 10 years old because college really puts a real-world perspective on things, where independence is key and no one is there to hold one's hand. It is your life and your life only. And, that just seemed so crazy. High school seemed way too long ago. And, although there were some points in time that I wished for freshman year to be over, I appreciated everything that happened this year.

And, although some of my floormates were crazy, I'm really going to miss my weed-smelling dorm and all of its memories. But, what I won't miss is that this semester has also been the first time I failed a test in YEARS. And, I have statistics for business to thank for that.

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