Over the past few months, I’ve come to terms with being a college dropout. It’s still hard for me to even call myself a dropout, especially since I have all intentions of going back, but considering that it’s been almost a full year since I’ve been out of school, the term fits pretty well. Plus, it’s not like it’s a bad word. I mean, there’s so many successful people out there who have dropped out and are making tons of money, so I’m in good company.

famous college dropouts

I didn’t intend on taking such a long break away from school. I literally had to be dragged away kicking and screaming from my campus. But I’m so glad that I did. When I got back home and got over the initial shock of not going back, I felt an odd sense of relief. When I left my campus after finals in May, I left with my very last bit of sanity and ¼ of my belongings (seriously, most of my stuff is still stuck in DC). I was emotionally and mentally drained beyond belief. If you’ve been feeling the same way lately, then maybe it’s time for a break.

First things first, please know that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with taking some time off from school. During my first few months off, I felt ashamed to tell people that I was taking a break. I felt like I let down all these people who were so proud of me for going away to school. Trust and believe that people will be more supportive and understanding than you’d expect. The vast majority of people understand that college is an expensive investment and it’s not meant for everyone. And for those who don’t understand, don’t stress about them. At the end of the day, it’s your life and just because you chose to take a different life path doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path. Regardless, it’s still a controversial decision that a lot of students struggle with. Here’s why I personally believe that taking a break from college can actually benefit you in the long run.

Getcho “ish” together!

Don’t let all those stereotypical college movies fool you: being a student is exhausting. Between classes and clubs and having a social life while barely having time to sleep, it’s easy to get burned out quickly. During my last semester of school, I was taking 17 credits, doing research, looking for a part time job, and going through a breakup, all while trying to act like everything was okay. It’s okay to take time to recollect yourself and come back. More than likely, you’ll be able to come back with a new outlook on your goals and more motivation to reach the finish line.

Finding your passion(s)

My first few months out of school were particularly hard because I went through a super dramatic early mid-life crisis. Me, being the Academy Award winning drama queen that I am figured that since I can’t afford to go to college, I better start looking for another life plan. But…what else could I do? The only thing I knew for the past 12+ years of my life was how to be a student and now that that’s gone, what else is there to do?

After crying like a huge baby for days and then pulling myself out of my pity party, I just started trying new things, mainly just to fill in the large amount of free time I had, but also to prove to myself that there’s more to me than just being a student. I was able to reignite some old talents of mine like drawing and writing, and even discover new talents like hair and makeup. I would have never been able to discover these talents while I was still in school, and best of all, I’ll be able to take these new talents with me to whatever school I attend next.

Consider ALL possible options

This one is more so aimed towards those graduating high school, but it could apply to college transfers as well. Taking some time off between high school and college gives you more time to consider all of your options rather than making a rushed decision. I personally think it’s better to make the most of a gap year by researching schools and programs, seeing which schools provide the most financial aid, and finding a major that you’re happy with rather than spending your first two years as an undecided major with over 10 grand in debt and less than 10 transferable credits.

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Just sayin’

The overall message here is that it’s okay to take some time to recollect yourself outside of going to college. I promise you will be so much better and stronger because of it. Even if you’re like me and you didn’t intend on taking a break, make the best of it. Life throws crazy situations at us, but it’s up to us to decide how we choose to handle them.




8 Responses

  1. Great post, Maya and also kudos to being able to find the glitter in the dark. After a traumatic experience my junior year, I was encouraged to take a break but decided not to. Like you mentioned, I was more concerned with what other people may say than my general wellbeing. While I did graduate on time, I honestly believe I did more damage than good trying to manage school and my newly acquired PTSD

  2. School really fills up a huge part in all of us that we somehow feel so empty when we finish it/it is taken away from us all of a sudden. However, I’m glad that you’ve made the best out of your time. Stay strong! 🙂

  3. Absolutely love this.
    I didn’t go straight to college after high school because I needed a break. I had to be ready for college.l and I didn’t want to rush going because of my mother. So I went on my own time. It took a few years but I am in my second Semester and I do not regret waiting !

  4. I WISH I had taken time off from school, or transferred when I had the chance (I almost did) to be closer to home. My on and off battle with depression and anxiety took *so* much out of me, and negatively impacted my time here. It was all a growth experience, but sometimes I feel that these external pressures attached with being a college student scared me out of listening to my gut. I’m glad you were able to take the time that you needed. You are amazing for posting this ??

  5. It can be so hard to “go against the grain” and against what everyone else is doing. But still, we all have different paths to follow and must be true to ourselves!

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