“Why don’t you just take a semester off?” People ask me this when I vent about how stressful school is, especially now with the COVID-19 pandemic. But for seniors like me who are one semester away from graduating, taking a break just isn’t that simple.
To put it simply, my college life has been anything but smooth. During the fall of 2017, my 18-year-old self moved out for the first time as I set off on my college journey at Cal Poly Pomona.
Since then, I’ve switched from major to major and have endured many obstacles. College has been confusing to say the least, but I am in it for the long run.
Toward the end of the 2020 spring semester, however, life was going great and I finally figured out what I really wanted out of this whole college experience. I was back in my original major and my academics were a priority again by knowing what I wanted to do for the first time in my life.
Then everything came crashing down. Life was put on pause as this pandemic struck and a big part of my life, at the time, was school. Up until that point, I was getting my grades back up and enjoying classes for the first time in years. The move to Zoom and online classes was the last thing I needed but, initially, I thought nothing of it.
I’m a very introverted person and, honestly, a small part of me inside even celebrated the move to online. I wouldn’t have to drive 30 miles back and forth to campus while sitting in traffic or stress about finding parking for the foreseeable future. Little did I know that I would soon wish to do all these things again.
Believe me, if this pandemic happened last year, I wouldn’t have thought twice about taking a semester off but, because of my situation, my only choices are to keep going or to put my life on pause even more. I envy students who have no trouble taking time to self-reflect, knowing that it’s something I can’t do at this moment in my life.
I recently learned that CPP has a policy called a “stop out” that allows a student to take a semester off without any consequence and maintain their enrollment status. But what about the consequences in making this decision? Here’s my advice:
In those five months that you would take the semester off, you could be doing other things such as applying for jobs, taking time for yourself and setting your goals in goals in order. Five months is only a few pages in your college chapter and in the long run, worth it if you’re someone who really needs it. You and I both know just how fast life can turn with everything that has happened during this dreadful year.
Now you might say that once you take time away from school, you might never go back. This might be true in some cases but during the time away, you get the opportunity to take a break and decide what you really want without taking mindless classes. You might even decide that school isn’t for you and you want to pursue something else — and that’s okay too!
It’s my senior year. I should be going to campus every day and reminiscing about my time at CPP while I walk the halls of Building 1 and sit down to eat Carl’s Jr. at the Marketplace.
Instead, I’m stuck at home struggling to keep up with my classes because of my destroyed sleep schedule that has me half-awake most of the time. To be frank, this semester has been a complete disaster for me and I would give anything to rewind the clock just a bit and take up that chance to take a break, even for just a semester.
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