Taking A Breaking Is Completely OK

It's OK To Take A Break From What You're 'Supposed' To Be Doing

If you're looking for a sign, this is it.

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"My child is an honor student at __________ Middle School." Sound familiar? Ah, yes, the infamous bumper sticker of a proud parent to a young prodigy. All A's, all the time. BIG things in store. The future is bright for this one! But no pressure, right?

Wrong.

High school. Hormonal teenagers swarming the halls, racing with 50-pound backpacks to beat the tardy bell. It's terrifying even thinking about it. Every moment is meant to prepare you for that final walk across the stage, the few strides that mark your transition from childhood to independence. Finish that written supplement. Study for your SAT and ACT. Apply for financial aid. Interviews are helpful too! Speak to some alumni/alumnus. Don't forget to mention you joined 11 clubs and started 3. Be sure to volunteer, too, because colleges LOVE that. But, oh! It's important to enjoy yourself; these are the best years of your life!

But no pressure, seriously.

While I was navigating through high school, I was given tip after tip on how to be successful. I was told that if I studied hard and a million other things, I'd do great. Don't get me wrong, I'm more than grateful for every pointer I could get. But in complete honesty, when I came to college, I was hit with the brutal truth. I found out the hard way, but I'll spare you the details and get on with the good stuff.

Abigail Brandt: ASB. Robotics. Musical. Honor Roll. DECA. Softball. Soccer. Service trips. Athlete. Scholar. I was Abbey Brandt and I had it all together (or so I thought). And after weeks of slaving over applications, I made my decision: I was going to UCLA. I was praised by teachers, counselors, faculty, family, friends; everyone was so proud to see the fruits of my labor and couldn't wait to witness my bright future unfold. Boy, were we all in for a treat.

I wanted to get away from my baggage. I wanted to leave my 18 years behind me and move forward into adulthood with a clean slate, meet new people, make new memories, and tell new stories, at an amazing school, all while preparing to be the world's greatest pediatric oncologist.

I quickly found out what I wasn't warned of before. They tell you college is hard. They tell you all about the huge lectures, the professors who will never know your name, and the wonderfully sanitary communal bathrooms. You spend your life preparing for "the finish line" when, in fact, it is only one of many mile markers in the ever-changing marathon of life. I got homesick. I got sick. I struggled to find a friend group. I faced academic challenges greater than any before.

I struggled. And I thought my only choice was to move forward and walk it off.

That is the greatest misconception about college. About adulthood. About any worldly responsibility. Pause. Breathe. When was the last time you took a break? Not scheduled, not timed, no expiration date to follow. Think about your major, your job, or whatever is haunting you from your long-overdue to-do list. Are you excited to learn about microbiology, or do you complete those assignments because your parents think you should be a surgeon? Does that internship intrigue you, or does it just look good on a resume? Do you look forward to your commute, eager to start a new day in the office? If not, make a change.

Take a step back and find what makes you grow.

I go to the #1 public school in the nation (take that, Cal, go brus). According to my SAT report, I was "prepared to exceed" in college. Turns out I didn't have "it," or really anything, all together. But there's nothing wrong with that. I took a break. I mean, yeah, it was terrifying. Something had to be really wrong with me. Why couldn't I handle the life that everyone around me seemed to be handling just fine? Turns out, things had to fall apart to come together. Fighting my fears and insecurities, I withdrew from classes and went home. I focused on myself - something I have neglected to do for as long as I can remember. I took the time to ask and answer honest questions: do I like helping people? Yes. Do I want to dedicate the rest of my life to science? Not really; chemistry sucks. Yeah, being a doctor would be cool. But why pursue a career that isn't right for me? Definitely not to be cool. Are there other paths I could take to help people? Absolutely. Am I happy? No. Well, how can I change that? Start by helping myself.

I decided to take control of my own life.

That's right, you can actually do that! No one cares if you take some "me" time, as long as it's going to preserve your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Even if someone did care, they would need to seriously reconsider their own priorities. Spend time fanning your own flame before you give your light to others; becoming your own priority will help everyone around you. Take it from me; I decided to make a change. I switched my major. Narrowed my inner circle. Started writing. Donated what I didn't need, and began cherishing what I do. And last night, for the first time in forever, I found myself excited to live. And it feels good.

So, if you're waiting for a sign, or seeking approval to take that next step, this is it:

It's okay to take a break.

Trust me.


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5 Struggles That Coming Home For The Summer Pose

Summer isn't always what you think it's going to be, especially when you're coming home.

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Summer break is amazing in so many ways: you're given countless hours to yourself, no daily stresses concerning school and assignments, and no overbearing pressures to go out every single night. However, coming home (usually) means you're back living with your parents and back to abiding by their rules, despite the fact that for around ten months, you were the only person making the rules in your own home. Despite the perks that come with summer, I have composited 10 reasons why summer can be hard to bear.

1. Having a set curfew.

I find it almost comical that I was able to "run free" for 10 months in Tallahassee with no regard for what time it was, but while at home I get the "it's time to come home" text from my parents as soon as 11 o'clock rolls around. For the entire school year, I was able to stay at friends' places until the sun came up, at walk out of clubs around closing time with no fear of getting punished for staying out too late, but now, I have to constantly plan around my curfew and ensure that I'm home before I get on my parents' bad side.

2. Having to get a summer job.

It was always a rule in my house that jobs were only meant for summer since my parents felt that getting good grades were our primary priority, so now that school's out, I'm working at my local Panera and dog-sitting for my neighbors, even though I absolutely hate dogs. Working isn't the worst thing I've had to do, but when I have to miss beach days and parties for a job that only pays $9 an hour, it sucks!

3. Countless days of boredom. 

College has made me accustomed to being surrounded by other people and activities 24/7. Sure, there were a couple of hours a day for alone time, but the majority of my day was spent hanging out with friends, going to my sorority, going out, and attending class. Now that I'm home and far away from my friends and the social aspect of FSU, I find myself bored and lonely.

4. Less freedom and independence. 

While away at school, I was able to do pretty much anything I wanted without my parents finding out. I was able to go get fast food in the middle of the night, go out to clubs, and sleep at my friends' place whenever I wanted. Sadly, now that I'm home, I can't just leave whenever I want or do whatever I want; I have to tell my parents when I'm going to places, where I'm going, who I'm meeting, and when exactly I'll be home.

5. Having to unpack and sort through your old clothes and the ones you brought to school.

Being the youngest has gifted me with an overabundance of hand-me-downs, everything from prom dresses to shoes to jewelry. However, over the years, the amount of clothes I have accumulated is insane; coming home has forced me to sort through the piles of old clothes and things I don't want anymore in order to make room for the multiple suitcases I brought back from school. My room looks like a tornado swept through it for three weeks now, despite the countless hours I have spent organizing, donating, and folding.

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