Is it time to take a year off college?

While students are always advised to run headfirst into their 20s, it’s sometimes worth slowing down a bit, at least to take stock of their situation.

Taking a break from college can give you a very valuable perspective of your course and life. You also get to confirm your doubts and a chance to rediscover your passion for what you’re pursuing. 

signs you should take a year off college

You may have realized that many college students are in trouble and should probably take a year off college but they only a few seem to recognize it.

They tend to cheat themselves that nothing is wrong, that everyone else is suffering, or that college is meant to be hard. Other students aren’t sure: “Am I doing bad?” They ask themselves.

They delay to take decisive action, and they end up waiting it out, hoping that the situation will get better. And then there’s this other lot that is busy making money and are left with little or no time for studies. No matter the situation you are in, below are 15 signs you should take a year off during college. Read on.

Signs That You Should Take a Year Off College

1. Your Academics Are Suffering

Poor academic performance is the major reason many students take longer than six years to complete college. In real terms, it is the major cause for most dropouts among students. If you realize that you’re posting a string of poor grades after every examination, you need to allow yourself a semester or a whole year off college to rearrange things. You know, you need to get back to the drawing board and sort out fluff from grain.

When academic life throws you for loops and eventually pulls you from studies, your academics will suffer as a result. Whether it is due to a health issue or any other upheaval that is preventing you from immersing yourself in studies fully, taking a break will allow you to renew your determination and reset your focus. 

Choosing to take a year off college is one sure way to protect your GPS, as we all have seen or heard of many students who became successful after deferring their studies. You could be resistant at first, but you’ll, later on, realize that it’s the best decision you made. 

2. Poor Health

If your body health and overall well-being are of great concern as compared to schoolwork, then it is the highest time to take a year off during college. It differs from dropping since we can’t afford to underestimate the importance of good health. If you are suffering from an illness but you are still pushing through for the sake of your academics, poor health will ultimately deal with your education a very harsh blow. That is where most students go wrong-trying to push through their schoolwork without seeking help, for fear of being seen as if they are unable to keep up. 

Too often, college students have to endure the pressure of completing their courses in the stipulated time, which can make things worse if you are battling deteriorating health. But knowing that pushing through academics when you aren’t in the right frame of mind is bad can help you to accept taking some time off college.

Focus on what you need to do to get up and running.

3. Dealing with Grief and Loss

Grief is a human body’s natural response to a loss of something or someone you love. Dealing with loss can be an uphill task because you feel all types of difficulties and emotions you didn’t expect- anger, shock, guilt, disbelief, guilt, sadness, name them. Coping with such a situation is certainly one of the biggest life challenges you may have to deal with. Such pain can disrupt your normal body functioning and routine, which makes it difficult to eat, sleep, or even think straight.

And remember that the process of grieving is an individual experience which takes time. That said, you will need to allow yourself some time off college especially if your grief was caused by the loss of a parent of a sole bread-winner for your family. You know, such loss can disrupt payment of fees, and the healing itself can’t be hurried or forced.

4. You Want to Invest in Different Experiences

You can take a year off during college and work an internship that can later become a permanent full-time position.

signs you should take a year off college

You can also welcome a baby, travel abroad, accept an offer for an internship.

Whatever the situation you’re in if you bump into a hard-to-resist opportunity while in college, taking some time off college is a great way to allow yourself to soak up that experience.

5. You Hate the Professor or Vice Versa 

How do you with a tutor you hate? How do you attend their classes when you already detest them? It’s also not uncommon to meet a professor who has a beef with a student. Anyway, you should take a year off college and you can return to complete the course after that. Maybe the faculty will have allocated that unit to another tutor.

6. Mental Health Issues

signs you should take a year off college

Dealing with schoolwork and mental health problems can be too much to handle. In this case, becoming mental healthy again should be your priority, which means that you may need some time off college. You can submit your deferment letter to the academic affairs office for processing, and you will be granted a leave of absence. A leave of absence is a period when a college student is typically not enrolled in classes but intends to reenroll afterward.

If your mental health is taking a toll on your studies and ability to take part in campus life and academics despite support and accommodation, then you should make sure to take a year off college. 

7. You’re Facing Financial Challenges

Most college students will attest to facing financial shortfalls during their stay in school. Not many colleges offer to help their struggling students grants to help them complete their studies. If you can’t secure a scholarship or an emergency loan, you can allow yourself some time off school and re-enroll when you are loaded.

8. You Realize That You’re Doing the Wrong Course

Most students believe that scoring high grades in high school is equivalent to studying an engineering or medicine course at the college. However, most of these students end up choosing ‘’hard’’ courses that come with plenty of advanced physics and calculus. If you realize that you are pursuing the wrong course, it is important to give yourself some time, otherwise, you will continue struggling.

9. You’re Skipping Classes Frequently

It is said that students who skip classes struggle academically. Data available at faculties in various colleges supports this claim. If you realize that you are not injecting the necessary effort into learning, ask yourself why. Ideally, skipping classes is symptomatic of an underlying issue. Defer studies that year and try to figure out the problem before your grades suffer excessively.

10. Struggling with Adversity

We talked about grief but there are a whole lot many other issues such as illnesses, food insecurity, and housing, which can force you a student to take a year off college, or even more. If you can’t secure short-term housing, food vouchers or grief counseling, then deferring your studies will allow you enough time to rejuvenate and re-enroll.

11. Your Work is a Priority

signs you should take a year off college

If your opportunities at the workplace are expanding, you’ll certainly run out of hours every day and week.

This means that reconsidering to rearrange your priorities will yield better performance on the one thing you dedicate your focus to. Before graduating, you will have full pockets. Who doesn’t want money, anyway?

12. You’re Burnt Out

College life is characterized by a lot of assignments and voluminous reading. If college is becoming too much to handle, then it would be in your interest to take some time off. If you allow yourself a year or so, you’ll be able to apply yourself when you enroll. Enough relaxation of the mind is the breath of fresh air you need to deal with burnouts.

13. Life Isn’t Operating in a Straight Line

If everything has been blown off balance and circumstances have become challenging, it may help to take some time off. If you feel that what is going on outside college is taking you away from your best performance in academics, it is probably a better idea to postpone your studies, lest it will affect your grades in the long term.

14. Dangerous or Unhealthy Habits

If you happen to be indulged in a toxic habit, you can seek to be granted some time off, at least to go and renew yourself.

15. You’re Considering a Different Career or Field

Some students switch careers before graduating. Some discover new career goals and interests, while others just follow their passion.

You could be pursuing medicine but then you realize that it is a career that keeps you at work almost all the time, yet you need a job that has flexibility. To try your hand in a new field, you’ll want to be prepared before postponing your college studies.

After You Take a Year Off College, Now What?

You should not view taking a year off college as the end of your road. Instead, consider it a brief tour.

With time, you will re-enroll while refreshed than ever. When you return to college, you will have a rejuvenated sense of purpose and redefined goals. Now, if you have decided to go on a break, remember to get back on track to achieve what you started.

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