The Reality Of Taking A Semester Off

The Reality Of Taking A Semester Off

Being burnout isn't the only reason

It isn’t unusual for college students to take a leave of absence or semester “break” during their four years. Seniors, the most common suspects, can “graduate early” if they have fulfilled their major requirements, but must remain enrolled until they can walk the stage. But for those of us who are only halfway through college (and dragging through every minute of it), taking a semester off may not seem like a bad idea.

Sitting out a semester and returning the next does have its perks; you can take time to save up for tuition, recover from a serious injury (medical leave), or just take some time to rethink your career path. Whatever the reason, here are some things to consider before taking your leave:


Semester breaks can save you not only a semester’s worth of tuition but also book fees, housing costs, and Greek/honor society membership fees. However, if you spend close to the amount during your break that you do during a semester, you may want to reconsider your options. Moving back home, taking up a part-time job, or simply keeping a tight budget will help you get financially secure and back to school in no time.

While taking your semester off, you will have plenty of opportunities to review your financial plan for the next few years. Consider taking the semester to recover financially if you are worried about being able to afford your degree. Saving up now could lead to many future opportunities once you return.

New opportunities or field experience

If you are lucky enough to be offered an internship or other form of experience relevant to your major, you may be forced to choose between your credit and work hours. If your schedule is already tight, even with one or two classes, taking a temporary leave may be a good idea. If your university offers academic credit for relevant internships or job opportunities, think about applying in order to keep your credit hours up and stay on track to graduation.

Non-academic travel

Not every experience abroad can be considered study abroad. With a rising number of short-term and experience-based travel programs being made available for students, the time is perfect to go abroad.

Even without a formal program to pursue, opportunities to travel and explore the world (in and outside of the U.S.) pop up all the time. Taking a semester (or half-semester) leave in order to fulfill your burning wanderlust is never a bad idea. Memories of time spent with friends and stories to draw on can only enhance your college experience, so long as you keep your graduation plan in mind when choosing to go abroad.


Burn out happens and so does depression. And although we’ve all tried to fight the temptation, sometimes there just isn’t enough energy left to continue our studies. Whether your wound is physical or mental, you have to take time for yourself. Thankfully, most universities offer medical leave, or a special enrollment plan granted to students going through tough times in place of a traditional semester break. Depending on the university, medical leave may require approval based on documentation or another formal record of the situation.

Applying for medical leave may take time (especially if you apply mid-semester), but if it’s a break you need, it may be the best option if you are truly unable to continue with your classes. If you are unable to take a medical leave, using a semester break to recover or bounce back from “burnout” can also help (just watch your credits!).

Return rate

Not everyone returns from a semester break, and that’s okay. Sometimes a short break is all you need to realize university life isn’t for you. Whether you plan is to jump into the workforce or enroll in technical college or certificate program, a semester leave is a good time to sit down and consider your options, especially if you’re on a timeline.

If you are planning to transfer universities and need a little time to catch up, a semester break may also help. This will allow you time to tour your future school, catch up on advising, and experience the life of an incoming freshman once again. However, keep in mind that your graduation date may depend on the semester you transfer in, so if you’d like to walk in the spring be sure to check with your new university before taking off.

Cover Image Credit: WITEBIRD2009

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Does What Happens During Spring Break Stay There?

"our most used phase was 'no gracias' "

Your spray tan is probably fading, you might be slightly hung-over still and you are for sure not ready to take that Biology test on Friday.

Well, it’s the Monday after spring break and most of us look more drained than we did when the break started. But, hey that’s what spring break is all about.

A break from school but not a break from our social lives. Spring break is just a sneak peek of what our summer will look like- without the fake tan of course.

Some of us will be on cruises this summer, partying on Florida beaches or will be hard at work at an internship. Let’s just pretend everyday of summer will be as adventurous as our nights out in Mexico.

After endless tequila shots and breakfast burritos, it’s time to hit the gym harder than we did pre-spring break.

You might be suffering from a cold right now and trying to get your immunity back up after sleeping for less than five hours a night for four days in a row. Eat some oranges, take your Dayquil and be ready for Saturday night.

Even though we might dread classes starting again, we are secretly relieved to be reunited with all our friends in one place. Plus, getting back into our routine and gain a bit of a social life is always a good thing too.

If you had a successful break, you probably have random people added on your Snapchat, have questionable messages from your best friends and some blurred out memories of you living your best life.

Some of us might even be thankful to safely be back in the United States without the fear of losing Ray Bans, passports, IDs and dignity.

My friends and I thought in Mexico we would be saying “uno mas” more, but instead, our most used phase was “no gracias.” As much as we enjoyed meeting new friends, sipping on pina coladas and the endless amount of carne esada tacos- we are happy to be back home again.

I’ve never been more thankful to be safe with my friends and recalling memories of our fun girls trip out of the country.

We all have memories we will never forget or fully remember, but that’s just part of college.

Cover Image Credit: Angelica Catusco

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Stories From A Broken Girl

This was written sophomore year of high school when I felt this way.

I have too many lines to memorize and I can’t keep up.

I have way too many voices in my head telling me what to do, what to say next.

I don’t know how people can’t see me losing my mind; it’s so obvious.

I can’t understand it. Not a single person has seen all of me; not one; because sometimes I don’t think I’m ready for that.

I feel so hostile and I can’t turn it off. I have no control over me.

I feel unrest and all I can do is stress, but at least you are so entertained by the words I'm saying.

I speak too many stories to keep us entertained and you seem amused.

I can’t stop speaking and you can’t stop believing; I can’t stop because you stay with me when most times everyone leaves.

I tell them when I know they will make us feel better. Sometimes anything will, but that doesn’t bother me.

I thrive under pressure, and when you need me.

And I am 10,000 miles under the sea and my head just might explode, but I like to not think about that.

Distracting you is no easy task, but I'm up for the challenge.

I can be your poet. I can be your reality. I can be your entertainment.

I can be all you need. Watching you listen so intently makes me think maybe we are both worth it; we are both worth saving.

I like to yell and scream, and sometimes I can’t breathe.

I spin and I spin and I drive myself crazy to get the right words to speak.

And I don’t get how you can still watch me. How can you still listen to me?

I don’t understand, and perhaps I never will, but that’s fine by me as long as you stay.

Don’t stop listening.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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