December 16th, 2009
If college has been the bane of your existence instead of the time of your life, you've probably considered taking a break. It's not unusual to feel burnt out after stressing over make-or-break exams, tedious research papers and frustrating group assignments. More students these days are coping with it by removing themselves from campus in order to regain their fire.
Before taking a hiatus from your college career, it's important that you step aside and assess your situation. Could the burnout be a result of the shortcomings of your college? Perhaps it's not fulfilling your educational needs, which might be better served elsewhere. Compare your situation with friends who are in similar majors at nearby schools. Or maybe it's the major itself? If you've figured out it's not something you'd enjoy doing for the rest of your life, consider making a change. Is the semester coming to an end and can your short-term problems be solved? Sometimes a semester break is all you need to recharge and forget about the stress. But if you feel that a prolonged break is the only solution, be sure to talk it over with your parents first – after all, they're probably the people who are responsible for funding your education. You'll be more likely to enlist their support once you've explained why a break is necessary. Make them realize that time off from college would help you succeed in the long run. Continuing on to the next semester overly stressed and underprepared will only result in unfulfilled academic potential, and a waste of their money.
During your time off, utilize your time effectively. Get out of the house and maintain a steady routine while mixing in some leisure time. Get a job and work 30 hours per week in a field related to your major – if you still like it. You'll earn extra money and you'll stay productive. Also consider doing internships and volunteer work, which will enhance your resume during your job search after graduation. If you can afford it, take a trip and do some soul-searching. Reconnect with your old hobbies that you neglected amid the chaos of college. When the next semester comes around, you'll be ready to pick up where you left off. Your renewed spirit and sense of motivation will enable you to reach your goals.