You have thought about this many times, and you keep arriving at the same decision—taking a break from studying. The idea of not enrolling next year seems ridiculous. Adding to that, people around you will ask countless questions about why and what now. Oh, and you might want to check on your parents or guardians. They’ll never let you get away with that decision.
However, you’re not alone in this. The number of enrollees since the pandemic hit is starting to dwindle. Due to the sudden adjustments in how schools conduct classes and the never-ending rise and fall of COVID-19 cases, going back to normal seems far from possible.
Some students are struggling to keep up with the demands of the school while also working part-time to support their tuition and families. Many people were laid off during the pandemic due to the loss of revenue by many companies and businesses. Students living in the lower-middle class and below the poverty line are the most affected by the pandemic.
Whatever your reason, feeling like you need a break from school is okay. If you’re dead set on filing that leave of absence or not processing your enrollment, you’ll finally have that long break for yourself. The question is, how will you spend it? Definitely not on the sofa, laying down. Here are some things you can do with your time if you’re not enrolling in the next school year:
1. Getting a job or internship
You’re taking a break, but you’re getting a job? Yes, apply for a job. Maybe this thought already came into your mind when you thought of not studying next school year.
If you’re someone who took a break from studying because of the rising tuition and transportation fees, a job could be your way to save up money until you can support your educational expenses again, or maybe you’re already in a job and find it hard to balance work and studying.
But even if that were not the case, you could get a job to have a productive break. Choose a job that you will enjoy, not stress you out. The point is to have that break time to explore your skills and develop yourself. Being immersed in the real world outside university walls is another way to help you reflect on your current plans. You can even add that job experience to your resume; who knows?
2. Volunteer for a cause
Is your decision to take a break from academics sparked by the feeling of not knowing where you’re headed? Could it be that you’re losing the meaning behind what you’re doing?
You can use that break to volunteer for a cause that is close to your heart or resonates with you. Volunteering provides a sense of community and helps you connect with new people while also building your self-esteem and social skills. Most importantly, doing volunteer work can give you a new sense of purpose.
Helping people, animals, or nature can widen your perspective and help you realize what you want to do. It can also help you decide what course or job you want in the future or if you have other plans going forward. Also, doing volunteer work can help you gain new skills and discover new opportunities or job prospects.
3. Start a new hobby
If you don’t feel like getting a job or doing volunteer work, you can try picking up a new hobby. If you don’t feel like going out or socializing with people, you can still be productive alone with hobbies like cross-stitching, cooking, baking, painting, or anything that can be done at home.
However, if you’re an adventurous or adrenaline junkie, you can go for hobbies like surfing, paragliding, racing, or team sports like basketball, volleyball, or badminton.
Getting a new hobby can give you a new sense of challenge. A new activity can keep your mind engaged and stimulated, and it will break your mundane routine during your break. While learning new hobbies will require you to invest effort, it’s more fun than stress than when you’re at work.
4. Catch up with the world
Sometimes, you get so invested in studying, you forget other aspects of your life, and when you get a break, you realize you’ve been so left out. You can barely catch up with friends because you have tons of papers to do and your social media updates were months ago.
Do you even know what “istg, frfr, and wdym” mean? Use your break to catch up with what’s happening around you. Meet up with friends, visit the cinema, or check out the new fashion trend. You now have the time to finish that long list of K-dramas and anime. Just catch up and stay updated, but don’t pressure yourself. Do it slowly. You have time to spare now.
5. Start a small business
Be your own boss! It’s not easy to start a business, and there’s a high chance you’ll experience losses and failures. You need to invest most of your time in learning and planning everything—good thing you have that time now.
Start by learning how to run a small business and minimizing the risks. Talk to people with experience or attend seminars and webinars. Explore your options for products and services and choose where you feel connected and most confident in investing your money and time.
Starting a business will make you handle a new kind of responsibility. It can also bring you personal fulfillment. You don’t know, and you might be successful.
Yes, it would help if you were productive, so you don’t become stagnant. But the primary reason why people take academic breaks is to prevent themselves from becoming empty. You’ve worked yourself too hard studying and are on the verge of breaking.
Take some rest, as long as you need. Get the sleep you missed because you have exams. Sit on the balcony and watch over the busy roads or the shifting skies. Rest.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to just rest. Resting is different from lazing around. Recuperate and prepare your body before you venture into a new chapter of adventure in your life.
You can do many things if you decide not to continue schooling for a year. However, make sure that before filing that leave, you’ve weighed all the pros and cons of not continuing a school year.
Don’t beat yourself over your decision. Even if people around you tell you that you’re making a wrong decision, if it gives you the peace of mind you need, go for it.
After all, everything should be taken at your own pace and in your own time.