I haven’t been in school for 10 months now—the longest I have ever been without schooling in my life (besides when I was a tiny human of course).

Ten months!

When I start up again it will have been one year, January to January.

You always hear that once you take a break from school you will never return. I didn’t even consider that an option, nor did it ever cross my mind. However, I never imagined that it would motivate and propel me even further.

I don’t miss stressing out over accounting finals I can’t comprehend, finance quizzes that are over my head, or timed marketing pop-quizzes. No.

Instead, I miss learning about all those things—about everything. I miss the challenge that those assignments, tests, and quizzes bring me. I miss having to work out a balance sheet in accounting class or having to wrap my mind around a new philosophy lecture topic. I miss learning and challenging my mind—sometimes I challenged it too much for my own good.

I miss taking notes and filling up a notebook with my unorthodox handwriting, then madly flipping through it looking for even the slightest answer. I miss my morning walk to class, rushing out the door, coffee in hand, wishing my roommates and best friends a happy day.

I miss my peers. Even the ones I had no contact with, the passion and ideas have inspired and fascinated me. Everyone at Chapman University has a passion, a future, and a story. With that, I miss being surrounded by the inspired minds, and walking through Beckman’s bustling marble hall.

It doesn’t seem as if I’ve been out of the loop for that long, but time flies (even when you’re not having fun, I promise) and my brain has slowly been turning to gush. Reading and writing have only got me so far.

Mostly, these past ten months have felt like forever awaiting the next semester. I attempt to not let my mind wander and wish my time away, for I don’t believe in that as each day is precious, but sometimes… sometimes things are just too exciting to not look forward to.

Like school! Call me crazy, I know, I know.

I can’t wait to study and take notes, walk to class and read my textbooks; I can’t wait for all of the above, all of the below, and so much more.

Through all of this, I have learned how valuable education and school in general is. It is not just because we are paying out the wall for this education, not because we are lucky to even have the option of higher education in the United States and not only because the job we get following our education will need a degree. While those are all extremely valid reasons to be thankful, have you ever actually thought about what your life would be like without school? What would you do?

Higher education challenges your mind and who you are as a person. This is another reason to be thankful, and you probably don’t even consider it a reason. Education is something we should all cherish while we can. Be thankful for the opportunity, and then be thankful for the challenge.

I am not saying we all shouldn’t be stressed out during finals week…but I am saying to revel in it. Revel in the stress and the studying. Our lives need knowledge and our lives need challenge. Revel in the lectures and the excessive amounts of coffee. Revel in the inspiration from your peers and let it embolden your passions. Most of all, embrace the knowledge you are acquiring. So, boldly face the challenges, and relish in those invigorating moments-- because without challenge, life is boring.