General Question

RAMesesII's avatar

At what point should one leave college (undergrad)?

Asked by RAMesesII (269points) April 2nd, 2008 from iPhone

Leaving to ‘take a break’. I don’t mean dropping out.

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10 Answers

glial's avatar

I did it once. My break turned into 10 years.

And save the argument, everyone says they are only going to take off a semester or a year.

My advice, take the summer off, which is coming up. Get a full time job; see how things go.

paulc's avatar

I decided I’d take a break before going into university. Like glial, that was about 12 years ago now – still haven’t gone. Believe me when I say that getting it over with now will be worth it later on.

cwilbur's avatar

My year off between my undergraduate degree and grad school turned into 3. My year off between my masters program and my PhD program is 7 years long and counting.

You don’t think you mean dropping out of college, but in fact “taking a break” is the functional equivalent. Don’t do it.

nikipedia's avatar

But those of you who are taking breaks—are you unhappy about it? I suspect that if you really needed school to accomplish your goals, you would have gone for it…am I right?

I took off 1 year before college and it was really good for me. I was VERY anxious to get back to school and really motivated when I got there. I’m starting a PhD program this fall after 2 years off because I just couldn’t wait any longer. Taking breaks has been really positive for me overall.

So to answer the original question—do you even need to be in school? What are your goals/priorities? And I agree with glial that if you can make it to the summer, that might be all the break you need. Why are you thinking of leaving? Are you tired and burned out? Do you need to do some soul-searching to find out what makes you intellectually excited? Are you failing across the board? (If that’s the case—a W is always better than an F).

paulc's avatar

@nikipedia, I’m split about it. I like that I’ve been able to succeed while some of my friends have been slaving away at their schoolwork but I also envy them being in an environment where the sole purpose is to learn and not produce. I’ve managed to learn a lot while working but part of me feels that my knowledge is lacking or incomplete and it can be frustrating. I am actually planning to return to school next year – I just hope I’m not too old now :)

cwilbur's avatar

@nikipedia: you’re wrong. It’s a lot easier to continue in school than it is to go back to school. I needed school to accomplish my original goals, and the result of “taking a break from school” is that my original goals are pretty much impossible to accomplish now, and I’m in a permanent holding pattern professionally.

In my case, taking time off was a complete mistake, and it’s likely going to be impossible to fix without making significant sacrifices that would not have been sacrifices had I just continued on the path I knew I should have been on.

RAMesesII's avatar

@ all
I was thinking more along the lines of a semester. It’s because I don’t really feel the drive, and like I’m going through motions, which in turn is reflecting in my work. I’m a second semester sophomore, 18 and don’t turn 19 till late summer. I was thinking I just needed some time to soulsearch or something… I’m not really sure, but I know that where I stand now, though it’s sufficent, isn’t where I want to be.

nikipedia's avatar

Can you find something that would be even better than school? A fantastic internship/work opportunity for a few months?

What about a semester (or year) abroad? Maybe you just need a change?

andrew's avatar

@RAMesesII: I went through the same thing my first semester as a sophomore, and ended up burning out.

If your funds can handle it, you might want to travel during summer break. A semester abroad is also a really good idea. Another thing to consider… can you take a lighter course load next semester?

Also, know that you’re not alone on this. Every one of my friends burnt out at some point. I’m sure there are really good resources for this at your school.

Rachelskirts's avatar

I did one year of college away from home, one year of community college, and one year back at the first school. I wound up totally confused, not knowing what majors or careers I even liked. So, instead of heading back as a fourth-year freshman (yikes, I know), I took this past year off to work full-time. It totally worked wonders for my discipline, and it helped me to clear my head. I’ve applied to go back for summer or fall classes. I refuse to let this be more than a one-year break.

Pros so far: I had the time to figure out what I want to do, and it was nice to have a break from the homework and testing and whatnot.

Cons so far: Because I’m not a full-time student, I have to start making payments on my student loans. A lot of the money I’m making is going directly back to school, which is a huge incentive for me to return to get that degree.

Hope that helped!

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