To say the least, these past couple months have been brutal, especially for students. There's so many reasons to be concerned about how education is going to change in the coming months. Which is why after long consideration I decided to take a semester off.
This quarantine I may not have done much, but it has made me very aware of my own needs. Which got me thinking about what options I have when it comes to college.
I am a rising junior attending a four-year, private university that made the decision to reopen partially (half online and half in-person) for the fall semester.
I am also paying for college myself (hello, student debt).
I was initially excited to hear I could be back on campus in the fall but felt uneasy with how much uncertainty I was walking back into.
So, I started by asking myself these 4 questions:
1. How is my quality of education going to change?
2. What happens if there is an outbreak? (My college is on the east coast and I'm from the west coast.)
3. Is it worth risking exposure during travel?
4. What else could I do with my time?
I was very scared when I first started seriously considering taking a semester off. But, as I talked to my counselors and friends, I realized quickly that it's actually not that farfetched.
In fact, I could use it to my advantage in many ways.
One of the biggest reasons I decided to take a semester off is because I can intern. There are tons of virtual internships available right now and getting some real-world experience can help me progress in my career or even fine-tune the direction I'd like to go in the future.
I also will have the time to take classes at my local community college to get some general classes out of the way and even explore some more niche interests (for example a podcasting class). This will also keep me from falling too far behind in credits.
I will also be putting more time between entering the workforce and a pandemic that has crippled the economy.
A semester won't fix everything but it can't hurt (knock on wood).
Most of all, I can save. I am lucky enough to have a job at a grocery store and intend to save every cent I can while I'm home.
Yes, of course, I worry about FOMO and if I am making the right decision, but it feels right and I make a point of sticking to my gut. Especially when there is nothing else certain in the world today, I can take back some control over my future with the choice to take a semester off.