Many students struggle with finances during college, and some solve their problems by taking on extra jobs or signing up for personal loans. If you find yourself struggling to pay for tuition and ordinary expenses, taking leave to focus on working and saving money might be in order. You might lose a little bit of momentum, but avoiding extreme debt could be worth taking a break.
If you feel you're not mentally, emotionally or academically equipped to get the most out of postsecondary education, some time off might be warranted. Being unprepared for the requirements of full-time school can be stressful. A break can be a great way to gain confidence and help you grow as a person. Volunteering or working a full-time job can also help you gain more experience and get the most out of college life. If you're struggling with the higher-level work required in college, cutting back to a part-time schedule is another option. You might also consider taking some remedial classes to get up to speed.
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Maybe you began college convinced of a specific career goal, but after a couple of semesters, your confidence wavered. Taking some time off for an immersive, hands-on experience in your general field of interest might help solidify your goals. For some, this may take the form of a 'gap year', which involves volunteering, working or traveling. The time spent during your year off can help you get a more realistic idea of what that career field is actually like. Work experience is a valuable asset after graduation. You may end up with connections to important people that can help you find work when you do get your degree.
Whether physical or mental, health problems can be so distracting that they make it impossible for students to do their best. If a health problem, either suffered by yourself or a family member, is causing you to fall behind and your grades to suffer, you may need some time off. Forcing yourself to continue your studies while taking care of yourself or someone else prevents you from getting the most out of your education. Give yourself time to heal by taking a break and returning to school once the crisis passes.
Working too hard for too long can cause you to lose focus or stop producing good work. If school doesn't provide any joy or becomes unbearable, taking some time off could be a wise decision. If you know you want to finish school but are unsure that you're physically and mentally capable of doing so, a refreshing semester off might help you come back in fighting shape.
There are also some pretty bad reasons to take time off from college.