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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » Taking a Year Off Before College

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Author Topic: Taking a Year Off Before College
Emily 249
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Not sure if this is the right area to post this. Feel free to move it if I've chosen the wrong section.

So I'm seriously considering taking a year off before staring my freshman year of college. Luckily my parents are supportive, and various extended family members think it's a good idea. My epilepsy is acting up again, my depression has returned in full swing, I feel awful all the time... I'm burnt out on about six different levels. I need a break and a chance to pull my health back together. Most people I know agree.

Here's my question: has anyone else here done the same thing? If so, was it a positive or negative experience? What did you do with your time off? My high school is a college preparatory school and I know my guidance counselor will be of no help when I tell her what I'm considering.

Any thoughts/advice? It'd be greatly appreciated.

Posts: 39 | From: United States | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
dailicious
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I completely 100% full-force support ANYONE taking time off before starting college.

When I was finishing high school, I had absolute no desire to go to college - I had no idea what I wanted to do, and didn't want to waste the money doing something I wasn't excited for or in the right place. So, I took some time off after I graduated, and I worked, saved up some money, and spent a few months living in New Zealand. It really isn't hard at all, either, to get back into school when you decide you are ready and interested.

For some people, taking time off before college isn't the right thing to do or the thing they want to do, but I think it's a wonderful idea for anyone who isn't quite sure what they want to do, wants to take some time for themselves, wants to take some time to figure out where their interests and passions lie, etc. and from what you're describing - it would be a welcome and healthy break for you to take!

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Jean
aka dailicious
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mizchastain
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I know what I want to do at college, but would it be a good idea to take time out, live at home, work somewhere locally and save up money, so I can leave it in my bank and it'll give me a head start on living expenses in college?
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JamsessionVT
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I was grappling with the same thing almost a year ago, and I decided to take a year off before university, and honestly, it's probably the best decision I ever made.

I will be going to school in September, and I'm really excited about it, but at the end of my senior year, I was burnt, and I because of some family problems I hadn't dedicated the time I needed to my college apps, SATs, ACTs, the like. I also knew (and still know) what I want to do, but I needed time to just veg, find a good job, and get some general life experience.

I live at home, mostly because rent around here is sky high, but I work 5 days a week, and get to do what I want on my own time.

As far as expenses go, I've done pretty well. I have managed to start paying for almost everything myself, as well as saving up. If you do decide to take the year off, I highly reccommend becoming as financially independent as possible. It makes the transition to college that much easier. Right now, I am taking care of all my car costs, as well as auto and health insurance.

And you know, I don't feel "left behind" or like I will have to play catch-up when I do start school. That's the one thing I was worried about when I made the decision, because all my buddies were headed straight to college after graduation. But for me, that just wasn't the right decision, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the time I have had to myself.

If you have any more questions about the general experience, etc, hit me up here, I'd be happy to help out! [Smile]

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Abbie
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I took a year off myself, and I was SO glad I did.

Not only did it give me time to regroup, time to engage in some activism full-time, I also was able to save up for my first-year expenses, which made that first year SO much easier, especially since I had to pay my own, and work while in school. Even though I had rent and other expenses to pay that year, I just lived really lean so I could have something of a savings to bring to school when I went.

Being able to spend more time w/classes without having to juggle as many jobs as I did later on in school made that first year SO much easier than it would have been for me otherwise.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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sexualghost
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I did something similar but with me it was only a semester. And it allowed me time to reguvenate my body and soul from all the poor decisions i've made and to cure myself of the depression I was in.

I'm back now, and going on an exchange to Poland next year. It's honestly the best decision I could ever have made. From personal experience I found that being sick and going to school conflicted with each other and I did poorly with my studies because I couldn't concentrate. Now that i'm better however i've been getting A's and B's which is what I should have been getting in the first place. So to answer your question, if you have the chance to take time off to cure/improve your current state i'd strongly suggest it, because in the long run you'll be doing yourself a favour in terms of how well you do in school [Smile]

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crazymonkey
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that is a good enough reason for you to take off th first year. many people like some of my friends dropped out after applying and paying full amount or just didnt go at all just so they could go work, hang out, and take off. they said it was too hard and barely tried. just waste time and spend money is what some do for their time of break before going to college but they dont even go. your eason for taking a year off is a perfectly valid reason. take care of your health because your body is permanently yours
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KittenGoddess
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I think it's fine to take a break when you're feeling burnt out. Especially if you're not quite sure what you want to do yet.

My only suggestion/caution is to find a goal, make a plan, and keep it in mind all the way through your time off. It can be really easy to fall into the trap of making some cash and enjoying having money and working at something that seems comparatively "easy" to school. In other words, it's easy to get lazy (especially if you're not having to pay rent, bills, etc.) and comfortable and then when time comes to go back to school...going back to the poor, student existence and those stresses can look much less appealing. Also, it's possible that during this year, things will happen (it's not uncommon for a relationship or child to come about in that kind of time) that could make it even more difficult/less appealing to go back to school.

I don't say that to try to discourage you from taking a year off. By all means, take care of yourself! But if school is what you really want in the end, make sure you're keeping your eye on the prize. Try to maintain some type of schedule with your time. Have a plan for saving money so that you're not spending the cash you're making. Mark the dates when you need to apply for school, financial aid, etc. on your calander.

And finally, keep reading and studying in the area(s) that you are interested in studying. You might want to look up the syllabi/reading lists for a couple of the classes you'll be taking later and commit to read a couple of the books a month (you can probably borrow them from the library so that you can save money there too). I hear lots of people say that getting back into the routine of studying once you've been away from it for a while can be really really difficult and stressful. So if you can dial back the stress by taking some time off, but if you can keep up good study habits it will help you reduce the stress/load later.

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Sarah Liz

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