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Taking a Break from Grad School

As stated in the title, I am taking a semester off from graduate school. I’m over the halfway point for my degree, and though the temptation has been strong to just push through and finish, I have realized over the last semester that I am in serious need of a break. I’m currently a graduate student at the institution that I work at and I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to get my tuition drastically discounted. Currently, I am studying for an M.A. in Human Services Counseling with a concentration in Student Affairs, through my career I have found a genuine love for higher education and assisting adult students with their academic careers.

When I first enrolled in college as an undergraduate freshman, I couldn’t imagine that I’d be where I am today. All I knew back then was that I wanted some form of a degree so that I could have better job prospects to support myself and my daughter, at that point being a newly single mom. By my senior year I had realized that all of the careers that I wanted to do required a graduate degree minimum, and so I had decided that I needed to pursue one. Now that I’m here, I question sometimes why I’m doing it or why I ever wanted to, but I know that it is necessary for my career and would be extremely beneficial, it would allow me some job security if and when I eventually move on from my current institution and move out of state.

When I was an undergraduate I was exhilarated, I loved studying and reading all of the material for my classes. I kept pushing for the highest grades that I could and just reveled on my on campus program. Now that I have switched to a graduate program however, one that is entirely online, I find myself at a disconnect. An online program is the only feasible program for me presently, now that I work full-time, am married, and have two children. It is just so much more practical, but now that it has been a few years I find it difficult to find the same exhilaration that I had felt as an undergrad.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m studying things that directly impact my career, and I feel that I am pursuing it at the right time now that I have had a few years off to read and improve my writing and analytical skills. I’m actually doing relatively well in my classes, maintaining a 3.7 or higher GPA. Suddenly this past Spring though, that fire burned out and it has been a genuine struggle. So I decided for my mental health that I needed to just step away for a semester, enjoy the things that I did without any guilt, and breathe easy.

I’ll be picking back up in January to complete my last three classes, and I have a capstone field experience semester that I haven’t decided when I want to complete. Maybe over the fall, but I’m tempted to wait until next year since it would simply be easier for me financially to save over the fall semester as well. I found also that being so burned out from classes has also negatively impacted other aspects of my life – I’ve been more tired at work and at home, so I want to take some time to read and replenish my spirit.

Let’s Discuss!

  • Are you currently in college, what are you studying?
  • Do you ever get burnout and how do you cope with it?
  • Would you like to pursue higher degrees, why or why not?