Ask Beccy: What happens next

Weighing the pros and cons for fall 2020.

Ask Beccy: What happens next

Rebecca Aiken, Writer

The uncertainty the Coronavirus brings in our everyday lives is posing a challenge to college students now more than ever. COVID-19 creates an interesting dilemma for college students of every academic standing. As schools around Massachusetts begin to develop plans for continuing remote learning in the fall, the college experience is threatened. It can be challenging to decide how you want to proceed. Do you push through? Do you defer for a semester? Do you take a full gap year? I have come up with some valuable insights on all the options available to help with the decision making process; whatever you should choose.

Do I choose to push through another semester of remote learning? 

That is what went through my head at first. Do I stick with it, continue my credits, and keep going forward academically? This comes with some pros and cons. You would be avoiding digging yourself into an academic hole by not taking any classes at all. You stay on track to graduate, and it continues as business as usual. If the stay at home advisory continues in the fall, it also gives you plenty of productive things to do that would pass the time.

Although, you could be cheating yourself out of some valuable parts of the college experience. You could be putting yourself ahead of your friends who are deciding not to continue with remote learning in the fall, which would result in graduating earlier than them. This would strip some of the great times that you could have had if you were still a student with them. If you have FOMO (fear of missing out) like me, I’m sure that’s as hard for you to read as it was for me to think about. 

Do I defer a semester? 

This has been on the radar of a lot of college students I know personally. For some students, remote learning just isn’t cutting it for them, and they feel that they are missing out on the learning experience they would be getting from having college classes the way we are accustomed. 

Taking a semester off allows you to take a break and get used to the reality of the virus but also helps you get your footing back when it comes to academics. Finding the motivation to do your entire semester online can be a lot for some people to take on and a semester off could be the recharge that your brain needs to get back into the academic game. 

The contrary might also be true in this situation. Taking time off when you don’t have a lot of motivation for school work could make getting back into the swing of things difficult. This break could also do more harm than good. You could check out of “school mode” and not be able to get the motivation back needed when restarting school. Knowing yourself and how well you can self-motivate in a non-academic setting is vital in this situation. Taking a semester off could be great, but it might hurt you too. 

If you live off-campus, there are also a few things to consider. You will still be paying for your lease since most start before the school year begins. That means that you would be paying for the length of the semester and may not be living there, which could be a massive waste of money. Alternatively, you could find a subletter for that semester, but the hassle that comes with that may be too much. You would have to move your things out and then back in again when the semester is over. Think before jumping to any hasty decisions when they seem like an easy way out at first.

Do I take a gap year? 

A gap year can be an excellent option for some students as you try to get your footing back from your past semester/school year. The change from regular school to remote learning may have made your grades suffer. A gap year is a great time to refresh, do some things you might not normally do, and figure out the path you would like to take with school. A gap year gives a lot of time for personal growth and realizations of what you might have overlooked in the fog of the busy school year. 

On the other hand, a gap year may make you want to check out. You might find it better for you not to continue with school at the moment, which perhaps was not a choice you would have made prior to the pandemic. You may also need to find someone to cover your lease if you live off-campus. 

Whatever you choose, make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. Talking it out with friends and family can help you assess what your best choice would be. Best of luck. 

Xoxo Beccy.

Email Rebecca Aiken at [email protected] 

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