I grew up with all the intention to go to college. And that's what I did, immediately after high school.
I chose to be a resident student at a college three hours and one state away from my small New England hometown. And there I stayed, for two years. After a series of unfortunate events, I decided not to return following my sophomore year.
After months of deliberation, I made the very difficult decision to take a semester off in order to spend quality time at home with my family, re-focus myself and decide what I actually wanted to do with my life. Have I quite figured that out yet? No.
But I did find another school to go to, one that I like a lot better, and I am currently on track to graduate a year from now.
Would I have preferred to graduate in four years exactly after high school? Of course. But it's not the end of the world and here's why.
College is really hard. It is physically, emotionally, financially and mentally draining for most people. It is exhausting to get through one semester, let alone eight in a row. There is nothing wrong with needing a break for your own mental health and well-being.
Also, college is expensive. People take time off from college for a variety of reasons, but one I've heard pretty frequently is because of finances. People have to take a break in order to save up. Particularly if you are paying for college on your own, doing so is quite a struggle.
No one should feel embarrassed to take time off in order to save up.
I personally think there shouldn't be such a stigma regarding taking time off from school. Is it preferable to finish school all the way through? Definitely. But that isn't for everybody, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don't think we should place high school graduates and college students on such a strict timeline for going to college.
If you want to get some world traveling in between high school and college, and you can afford that, most definitely go for it! If your brain needs a little break in between completely exhausting semesters, by all means, give yourself some room for mental relaxation.
Do I think everybody should go ahead and take next semester off? No. But I don't think anyone should be ashamed or shamed for deciding to do so.
There is never just one way to do something and completing college is no exception. I feel like completing college in four years is hard for most people, especially if you have to take a lot of credits each semester to keep up with your major, and especially if you work on top of going to school.
For all my college students out there, keep your head up, it will get better! Also, if you are thinking about taking a semester off, don't feel ashamed for doing so. It won't be the end of the world. You will still graduate.
Everything will be OK, after all, and if it's not OK, it's not the end.