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The UnCollege Blog

Is There a Difference Between Needing a Break From School and Dropping Out?

The following is a post from our Ask a Dropout Series. You can find more posts from the series here.

Deciding whether or not to drop out, or just take a break from College, can be a tricky decision to make. 

Remember that it is your decision. You know what is best for your well-being and for your future.

Below are three questions to help you gain some clarity on the matter.

1) Why do you think you need a break, or to drop out all together?

Most people will advise you to stay in school and power through no matter how you feel, because you’ll have your whole life to work, travel, or try different paths later. 

Now this may sound morbid, but you don’t really know if that’s true.

Don’t wait until you are out of college to begin living your life. And if college is sucking the life out of you, you should consider dropping out and doing something that brings you to life instead. 

I was absolutely miserable in high school. School made me feel stressed, depressed, and worthless. My only regret was not listening to my heart and body sooner. 

This is not an invitation to live your life like there is literally no tomorrow. But it is an invitation to life your life like there might not be.

Just because school is widely accepted by society doesn’t mean it’s the right path for everyone. Only you can know if it’s right for you.

2) Would deferring be a better option for you?

Dropping out doesn’t have to be a permanent and irreversible decision.

Even if you dropout and return a year or two later, you could consider that a break.

College hasn’t changed much in the past and probably won’t for some time. The world in changing everyday, so if you see an opportunity in the real world, act on it now. If it leads you somewhere you might eventually decide you don’t want to return to school. If not you can always go back.

3) What will you do outside of college?

Lastly, if you are thinking about dropping out or taking a break, consider what you will do instead.

Will you participate in a gap year program? Travel or volunteer? Apprentice at a startup? Do you have a passion project you would like to work on?

Whatever you do, make sure you document it. Collect your letters of recommendation, film your experience and throw it up on YouTube, publish your book on Amazon, or write about your journey on a blog.

Not only is it great for you to see what you are creating and doing in this time, it will help you stand out when looking for a job in the future.

Before dropping out or deciding to take a break, give a little thought to what you would like to pursue instead