Last Updated: November 10, 2021, 9:35 am

OPINION | Take a break to better your mental health


Taking a break from academics can allow for time to re-charge and reset. Graphic by Yara Al-Badri.

Burnout, stress and anxiety. Mental health should always be put at the forefront, even if it means coming before academics.

Taking a break from school to recharge and assess your mental health can be beneficial. When starting college, academic success is all I looked for as a student. Getting good grades and recognition felt great, but at the end of the day, it’s temporary. 

As much as success in school and career matters, making sure you are taking care of yourself is for the greater good. Although breaks are tricky, we have been told over and over again a break usually results in a permanent vacation. 

Most students enter college at 18, still teenagers. A lot of changes happen in four years, so taking time as a young adult to find yourself outside of academics can be a major benefit for your personal growth.

“Taking a break from college differs greatly from dropping out when your health is concerned, Rasmussen University stated. “If you’re trying to push through an illness for the sake of staying in school, your education may ultimately suffer.”

College is difficult, so taking time away can result in better performance overall. When the brain is distracted by a chemical imbalance, the information being taught in class isn’t being retained, as found by Rasmussen University.

Sure, you can push through it and get passing grades, but what is the point if, academically, your personal growth isn’t met in the end? 

“Taking a break doesn’t have to mean you are giving up,” A Psych Central article stated. “A break is just that – a break. Sometimes there are good and respectable reasons for taking a year or two or more away from academics.”

To ensure a break doesn’t affect your academics negatively, you will want to curate a plan. Get in touch with advisers and make sure to defer any scholarships and federal grants you’ve earned. Personally, I’ve found setting a time frame has alleviated some of the stress I’ve felt about taking a break. 

Know you are not alone if you decide to take a leave of absence from academics. College is demanding and life doesn’t stop to cater to it. Admitting a break is well-needed is brave. Respecting academics enough to ensure performance attributes to a good, hardworking student. 

“It’s not uncommon for students to feel challenged mentally during their college years,” said Meghen Jones, a writer for Ucribs. “According to the American Psychological Association, more than one-third of first-year university students are diagnosed with a mental disorder, whether it may be anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue.” 

I’ve found planning this academic break for myself has eased my mind. I entered this semester completely distracted by my mental health. As bad as I’ve wanted to push through and finish my last two years, I know taking a break is in my best interest.

Students should take the time to assess their mental health before reaching burnout. The conversations surrounding taking a break should be discussed outside of a negative stigma.