1. Social Life
Going through a big romantic breakup? Feeling betrayed by people you thought were your friends? Events like this can make everything, especially going to class, seem more difficult. But it's no reason to quit. Having a focus, like school, can help you cope in times of crisis. Plus, you could very well come to regret your decision if you end up graduating later than planned. If the social environment at your school has become unbearable, consider transferring, not quitting.
Some highly outgoing, social students consider dropping out of school because it gets in the way of 'fun'. Surprisingly, this is a common reason why students drop out. More often than not, those dropouts end up regretting their decision because the fun eventually ends. Although your lifestyle might seem too appealing to let school get in the way, it's possible to balance the two. After finishing school, you'll have the opportunity to make more money than someone without a degree, which ultimately means more 'fun'.
2. Pleasure Travel
Studying abroad is one thing, but taking a significant amount of time off of school to travel somewhere for no particular reason isn't the smartest use of your time. If you have a strong desire to travel somewhere, spend the next few years of school focusing hard on your studies and planning an awesome trip to take after graduation. If you simply cannot wait, studying abroad is a great way to satisfy the explorer in you. Most colleges offer several destination options, and although you'll be going to school, there is plenty of spare time for you to explore.
If your major isn't really doing it for you anymore, look into classes in other disciplines rather than taking time off to recharge your batteries. You can also try talking to a favorite professor or academic advisor to see if they have any tips on how to get your academic spark back.
Boredom in school often indicates a bigger problem than simply needing to take a break, and taking time off can be a placebo - there's no guarantee that you'll feel better when you return to school. Boredom is different than burnout. If you truly can't take the workload anymore, you might want to seriously consider some time off.
4. Poor Academic Performance
Here, we're referring only to students whose bad academic performance seems to have no direct cause, like illness or a devastating personal event. In those cases, time off may be warranted. But if there's no real reason for you to be getting bad grades (other than a lack of discipline or understanding of the material), you should stay in school. Taking time off can throw off your rhythm, making it more difficult to be a good student when you return to school.
Instead, ask your professors what they think caused your poor performance and actively work to change your process. If you feel your course of study is too difficult, research the different student services at your school, and seek out tutoring or other academic assistance. In order to truly solve your problem, of course, you'll need to be in school.
5. Existential Crisis
Again, there are some limits to what we mean here. If your existential crisis is really depression or an anxiety disorder that needs to be treated, you might benefit from time off, so long as that time is used constructively. But if you're simply feeling confused about who you are and what you want to do, you should stick with your academic agenda.
Existential malaise or crisis is a common experience among college-age people - in our late teens and early twenties, we often try to figure out our place in the world, what we want out of life and what we have to do to get where we want to go. If you are feeling lost, try setting up an appointment with a career counselor at your college. He or she can help you weigh different career paths and create a plan that fits your goals.
Though staying in school won't necessarily provide easy answers to these questions, the process of learning can help you gain some perspective; it may even provide you with a direction that gives you purpose in life.
If your reason for wanting to take time off isn't on this list, maybe we've identified it as one of the best reasons to take a break from college.