It’s okay to take time off to figure it out

Rewind back to September 2015, I am at my sister’s soccer game at my old high school, and I see one of my favorite teachers from high school. I excitedly go up to him to tell him the news of my recent decision to quit university and move abroad for a year. I explained that I was taking a break and moving to Italy to be an au pair. His response?

“Well that’s great Amber, but make sure your one year break doesn’t go longer than that. Just make sure you come back and finish school afterwards.”

I was stunned. That was not the response I expected. Coming from a teacher who I really respected and looked up too, I was shocked that he clearly wasn’t in support of my decision. A decision that I truly believed was the right one for me- regardless of whether or not I went back to school later. Regardless of what came next.

Looking back now I do understand where he was coming from. See, he gave me the teacher response. The response that tells students that yes, you can be whatever you want, as long as you get properly educated first. I’m not writing this post to tell the world that I am against furthering your education- quite the opposite actually. I’m writing this post because I want people to know that it’s more than okay to take time off before university to figure it out.

I went to university after high school for business administration because I thought it would help me in my current management role at my job. And because, well, that’s what all of my friends were doing. After one year of it, I knew that it wasn’t for me. So I decided to live abroad for a year, in a random country with a random family I had met on the internet.

Now, after living here for almost a year and a half, I am incredibly excited to announce that I’ve officially been accepted into Cattolica University, here in Milan, into the International Relations and Global Affairs program. If all goes as planned, I’ll begin classes this upcoming fall. I never thought I would go to school here or really continue my education at all. But here I am, ecstatic about studying here in my favorite city.

I needed to get out of my comfort zone, begin to see the world, meet new people, see how other people live, to even begin to understand what I may want for my life. For me, it was all about changing my perspective. Graduating high school, I had no idea. So to anyone who feels the same way, I would tell you to just go. Travel, take a month off. Take a year off. TAKE AS MUCH TIME AS YOU NEED. And I promise, you will figure it out.

 

-A

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