When I graduated from college in May, I didn't realize the decision I had made would be of the best things for me. I decided to take a break from school and academics after graduating with a degree in Biology (and a minor in theatre). As much as I love my major and the sciences, I knew I needed a break once I completed my bachelor's degree. It was also a decision that was made that would allow me to work and build a resume before continuing my education. Since I've been on my academic break, I've started to realize there are so many other benefits to besides work.
Quite frankly, after working hard for these past few years, graduates are well deserving of a break. The many all-nighters, studying, and sacrifices have brought you the accomplishment of gaining your degree. Even though we have celebrations after the graduation ceremony, that's not the best celebration. The best celebration after graduating from college is giving yourself that much-needed break.
Most of us have gone to school for pretty much our entire lives (and no, we're not counting Pre-K). For the first time ever, it feels nice not to have school and worry about grades.
My mornings are filled with enjoying my breakfast and being able to just do that. I prepare for work and when I return home I am to relax and do what I want. There's no studying or assignments to worry about, there's only me. I spent those down times doing the things I enjoy, that include writing and having social time with my friends. While in college, you sometimes don't realize the sacrifices that are being made that include your social life and health.
It feels freeing and relaxing not having to worry about anything academic-related. Of course, there is the stress of figuring out what's next, but living in the moment of now feels great.
The time of being away from school has allowed me to see that a large part of my stress/anxiety has been connected to school. While I'm on my break, I hope to learn how to be able to balance myself when I do return the school in a better manner.
In this discovery, it's the realization that taking a break can do wonders for your mental health. In addition, it can do wonders for yourself as a whole. Even though I practiced self-care in college, it is much easier to do now. I can work out more and spend time on pampering myself.
The time I have on my break allows me to learn more about myself because I'm only focusing on me. I may feel comfortable in my career choice but being away gives me the chance to confirm it. There's also the chance for me to explore other options and ideas.
Yes, it's true, taking a break from school may not be for everyone. Each person knows their needs and what they need to know. Others have timelines they would like to meet, while for others it's becoming afraid routine. It was both of these things that left me unsure of whether or not I should take a break.
Although, just like anything, you learn how to take things slow and work out a solution.
The optimal gap year is about one to two years. If you're afraid of becoming accustomed to that non-school life, set yourself to a time limit. I've given myself a schedule and time limit as to when this break will be finished. It also includes the things I hope to accomplish during this break. Yes, you must have goals even in your break. These goals will be the things that set you up for success when the lovely break is over.
Even though you may have goals and a timeline, it may be tough to stick to it. As time goes on, you could find it easy to push it off and start changing the time limits. This is where the support of family and friends comes in during a break. The assistance of family and friends can come in the form financially and emotional help. They can also be the ones that can help you remain accountable for your goals. Let them know of your plans and encourage them to be your reminders and cheerleaders.
However, you are the only who is completely accountable for your life. When in college, your professors were there to guide you, but you were the ones accountable for your grades. In a similar way, Friends and family act as your reminders, but it's up to you.
The future of your life and livelihood is very important. However, the most important thing is you. It'll do your goals no good if you're burnt out and at wit's end. Breaks are essential in everything you do. When you go on break at work, it can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to work again. The active idea of taking a break from school can do the same thing. It's something that can make you feel revitalized and ready to tackle (and enjoy) school again.
For me, being a hardcore academic, I know that I have identified myself with school (and grades) for a large part of my life. When taking a break, it's also a time that will allow you to find out who you are without school.
Performances and accomplishments are no longer based on grades or awards. The act of achieving everyday life, like adults, is a new accomplishment.
I feel as if when my break is finished, I'll be able to continue with my education and pursue the next steps of my life. When my academic journey continues, I'll be able to bring experiences with me that will enrich my education further. The break will not only be beneficial to my academics but my whole life overall. I can't see into the future, but I'll be grateful for this break, no matter what happens next.