In every person's college career, a question they ask themselves is, “Should I take a semester off?” We get burnt out after a while in between the studying, and lectures that we kind of ask ourselves why are we pursuing this degree in the first place? We lose sight of why we’re even here spending the money to get our degree and things get a little claustrophobic.
A lot of people take time off between high school and college to get a better sense of what they want to do in college and why. Sometimes people take their break in the middle of their college career because they need to breathe a little. Whenever you decide to take your time off is up to you. I personally decided to do it on my senior year when I only had eight more credits left. But I never do things the right way anyway.
I’ve never considered taking a semester off because I always felt that it’s better to just get it done and over with. I didn’t really consider whether or not completing three straight years of college had really burnt me out from my degree until my final year when I asked myself, “What the heck am I even doing here anyway.” I also didn’t plan to take a semester off until it just happened. I had thought about it for a while and considered whether or not it would be the best thing for me, but I hadn’t made an official decision until the day I dropped all of my classes.
I have a million other reasons why I decided now of all times to take a semester off, but I won’t get into those. Instead, I’ll cover the feelings I have right now about taking a semester off. I’m mostly writing this article for people who are considering whether or not taking a semester off is right for them.
I’ve had people who graduated describe the sensation of not going to school again in the fall to feel like a really long summer vacation that just got cold. I’ve also had people mention that it took them a bit to form a structure after they graduated. They had a plan pre-graduation and didn’t follow through. I make the comparison to graduation because it feels like taking a semester off is like a mini-graduation.
I’m taking a long break. I’m using the time off to focus on things I wouldn’t have been able to focus on, like larger projects not related to school, or perhaps just writing in general and how I really feel about it after a few years in school. I think the great thing about taking a semester off is the freedom to really think about what you’ve done so far instead of waiting after graduation to clear your head all at once.
I think the scariest thing about taking a semester off is the fear that I won’t ever go back. I hear about the horror stories of people taking a semester or a year off and not returning to school five or ten or twenty years after the fact. I’m sure that I’ll come back when I need to but I recognize that life sometimes gets in the way.
Do I recommend taking a semester off? For now, I say yes because a lot of good can come out of it. You have time to decompress and focus on your goals in whatever degree you have. If you need to figure out financial stuff, it’s also smart to take the time off that you need to organize that. I might change my opinion on that as this pans out. I guess I’m most excited about achieving goals and completing creative projects I otherwise didn’t have the time or energy to tackle.