Here’s why I took a break from school and why it’s the best decision I have ever made

brown and black wooden chairs inside room

I decided to take a break from the travel series and write something more personal. If you’ve been following me for a while, you might have noticed that I have been able to travel more in the past months than I usually do. This is because I decided to take a break from school eight months ago. Here’s why, and why it’s the best decision I have ever made.

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However, before we get to the changes and benefits this break has brought me, I’d like to explain where this decision came from. If some of you are in a transition period or at a point in your life where you are not sure where to head next, I hope that sharing my journey with you might help you find your path as well.

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So about a year ago, after a year and a half into a pandemic and more than halfway through my studies in a specific career field, I started to have doubts. I’ve always been the kind of person with a strict plan for her life and who sticks by it. I had planned my life for the 4-5 upcoming years. I did not allow myself to review my plan for fear of losing control and direction in my life.

During the same period, I started a new job. I enjoyed it; it gave me another perspective on a career field I had crossed out from possible career choices.

So I allowed myself to review my so “dear plan” and decided to go into a completely different career path, but first, to take a break from school. Eight months to reconnect with who I am and live a life accordingly to my desires.

I’ll be starting university in September, so the end of my school break is approaching. As I am getting ready to get back to the school benches, I allow myself to take the time to review the past eight months and what I grasped from them. What I learned and what I have become. I identified five main points, which are the following.

1- Anxiety

The pandemic, like most of you, had changed me. I had never considered myself someone anxious before and had never thought I would join an anxiety support group one day. But here I was, spending my Tuesday nights on Zoom talking about my feelings.

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I come from a competitive environment when it comes to school. Whether it was from the school itself or my peers, I did always feel pressure to succeed in school. Thus, coming from a competitive environment, I also started to put a lot of pressure on myself to get good grades and crave success in the different spheres of my life.

So by taking a break, I got to let go of this pressure and, therefore, my anxiety. I did not have anyone to please except myself, did not feel any pressure to accomplish anything, and my anxiety significantly decreased.

Finally, I also got the time to understand where this pressure for success comes from in my life and realized that it was useless. I am carving my path in life, and competitive anxiety is not invited along the journey.

2- Live my dreams and focus on my passions

Moreover, after almost two years of being confined due to the pandemic, I felt the urge to go out and live my dreams. Two years of my youth that I thought were stolen from me. Thus, taking a break felt like the perfect way to catch up.

I had always dreamed of learning to surf. I checked that box. I’ve always dreamed of swimming in the clear blue water of the Mediterranean sea. Checked. See the Eiffel Tower. Check. See the half-timbered house in Alsace. Check. Learn languages; I paid myself some private lessons. Check.

The last two years made me realize how precious time is and how fast it flies by. Will I be starting university later than some of my friends? Yes. But do I regret taking a break to go out there and live my dreams? Not at all.

If you are at a point in life where you feel a little bit lost, I feel like taking a break and focusing on your passions and dreams can help to reconnect with who you truly are. And there should be no shame in choosing this option.

3- Fix some health issues

Another reason why taking a break from school was one of the best decisions I have ever made is because it has allowed me to fix some ongoing health issues. Whether it was neck pain or concussion-related problems from a fall I did about two years ago, I had some health problems that still needed attention.

back view of a woman having a neck pain
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Therefore, my break has allowed me to prioritize my health and take the time to do some research and find specialists who could help me.

We tend to be absorbed by the high speed of life. Whether you are a full-time student or working full-time, we tend to neglect our health problems. We do not take our minor injuries seriously until it becomes a significant problem that forces us to stop.

You are allowed to take a break, and your health should be put first.

4- I faced my fears

Taking a break from school has also changed me into a more confident and independent person. Again, due to the pandemic, we were forced to say at home and stay in our comfort zone. Thus, when we could finally start living again, I hit a wall. I got scared of getting out of my comfort zone alone. Afraid of going out alone and having difficulty reconnecting with people and the world.

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I would be lying if I said I was excited about my trip to Paris back in January. I was terrified; I almost canceled everything the day before and made a significant panic attack. However, I faced my fears and decided to go. I then realized that all those fears were unfounded, and I had the best time in Paris. From this moment, I started to enjoy getting out of my comfort zone and enjoying my own presence again.

6- Spend time with my loved ones

Finally, another thing that this school break has brought me was time with my loved ones. To add to the health issues, another thing I feel like I was neglecting in the past years was taking the time to visit my grandmothers. I lost my grandfathers a few years ago, and I wish I had more time to get to know them. I am lucky to have my grandmothers still, so it was important for me during this break to make the time to visit them and reconnect with them.

Finally, I discussed this topic in my previous post; We Live in a Strange World – How to Grasp some Meaning as a Twenty-Something; my point was that reconnecting with our roots and our family sometimes helps us to reconnect with our true selves. 

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So to conclude this post about why I took a break from school and why it is the best decision I have ever made, I’d like to end with the quote that represents this whole blog: Not all those who wander are lost. 

Taking a break made me gain another angle on life. I got to meet people with different life paths and journeys and concluded that there is no right path. It’s not because we wander a little and put ourselves into question that we are necessarily lost. On the contrary, I think we should encourage the act of being brave enough to try different things because, in the end, there is no train to catch.

À bientôt!

Juliette

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Marie-Claude

Wow Juliette! Tellement beau texte très senti. J’ai les larmes aux yeux. 😘

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