Should You Take a Break Between Degrees?

Girl studying

For young adults, college can be a very stressful and exhausting time period. You are under a great deal of pressure to study hard, pass your classes, and keep up with finances. To clear your mind, you may desire a break, a chance to figure out what you truly want. The question remains: when is the best time to take a break? I'm here to tell you that it's perfectly okay to take a semester break between degrees.

After finishing high school in 2018, I was eager to take some space for myself. However, my mother encouraged me to keep going and enroll at HCC. I received my Associate's degree in English from Harford Community College in May. 

My first semester at a four-year university was supposed to begin this fall at Goucher College. Due to current financial struggles in my family, I am not able to attend. While disappointing, I chose not to see it negatively. This break has been sorely needed since high school. Although there are many reasons to be negative, there are far more reasons for thinking positively and finding happiness in everything I do. 

My financial difficulties have forced me to take a break from my education, but I won't stop doing what I love, which is writing. My first piece of advice to you: if you're thinking about taking a break, ask yourself why you need it. Have you been struggling financially? Do you feel overwhelmed? Discover why you want a semester off. Taking a break simply for "fun" is not a good plan. You may lose your motivation and decide to not return to school. It’s important to have a reason for taking leave from school, so you also can have a clear plan to get back on track. If you’re currently passing your classes with minimal stress, I recommend staying put. 

If you feel overwhelmed because you are trying to balance work and college, it is okay to take a break. My brother, for example, decided he could not work and attend college at the same time. During the semester, he struggled financially, but he was able to focus better on his classes, and had some financial assistance from family members. 

Deciding whether to work or pursue an education will allow you room to breathe. Most importantly, you should prioritize your mental health. Sometimes, you need to take a step back to reevaluate your priorities. This is something you will figure out along the way in college, but be unapologetic about your choice! Go with whatever makes you feel content and happy. Trying your best to please others will lead to disappointment. 

Despite my mother's disappointment that I am pausing my education due to finances, I decided to use this time to improve my writing skills and improve my craft. Taking a break and refocusing my life until the spring semester is the best decision for myself. In spite of not having been planned, it was still a good choice for my well-being and creativity. Obviously, this option isn't for everyone who's looking to earn their degree, but please consider it if you're feeling overwhelmed. Figure out what works for you and DO IT!

Written by: Audre Arnett

Instagram: @infinityaudreee

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