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Nicole Bidol

Students should take gap semesters

May 4, 2022

Growing up, I expected I would graduate from high school, go to college, graduate from college and then start the rest of my life.

Now that I am in college, I do not think life has to happen that linearly.

Undergraduate students should take a semester off from school before graduating.

I deferred for the fall 2020 semester before going into my first year at UVM. 

While I told people it was because I wanted to wait until COVID-19 died down a bit, it was also motivated by a desire to take some time to think about what I wanted to do with my life.

The time off was valuable to me. I had no formal responsibility and used my free time to explore my passions. I traveled, played music and got active in local politics, which I’ve found beneficial as the experience aligns with my political science major.

This included me moving to Atlanta in December 2020, a world away from my home in Connecticut, to work for the democratic campaigns during the U.S. Senate runoff elections.

This was one of my strongest periods of personal growth in life. I got to experience living alone and working full time: an invaluable experience to gain before graduation. I would not have had these opportunities had I not taken a semester off.

I enjoyed that semester off so much that I will be taking the fall 2022 semester off as well.

Even though I will probably graduate later than I originally expected to, the benefits make the experience worthwhile.

Taking a semester off from school can be a great opportunity to gain relevant work experience. Not only will it create a stronger resume post-graduation, but it can also give insight into what it is like to live as an adult.

If students are feeling burnt out, they can also take a semester off just to take a break. After all, students can take two consecutive semesters off before UVM revokes their merit scholarships, according to UVM Student Financial Services.

As long as the University lets students take time off, they should take advantage of the opportunity.

Even if it may be scary, it is well worth it to depart from the traditional college path.

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