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How to go back to college after a break in 12 simple steps

Every other hustle and bustle needs a breather. You know the mantra: work hard, play hard. College students especially need downtime to recharge to be able to absorb knowledge like sponges again. That's why college break schedules are dished out yearly: to help college students map their downtime effectively.

But here's the question: how can you return to college after a break without pain and suffering? Switching back to study mode is complex, and getting a little bit lax could mean a dip in your grades.

Want to avoid all the pitfalls and enjoy your breaks and your studies? Read on for best practices and tips on how to get back into college after taking a break smoothly.

Can I take a break from college? - Yes, please!

The college break is more or less a timeout for students to kick back from the relentless cycle of classes, homework, and tests. It’s a specific time during the semester when classes are interrupted, thus allowing students to relax, recharge, or go on trips and have some downtime. Do you have a summer break in college? If so, you know what it is: a vacation that never allows you to get tired but still keeps your morale a little higher, making the ride of education a little fun and something that you can handle.

So here’s a brief schedule to help you navigate:

  • Fall Break: A small vacation of two to four days that colleges give in October. It follows the first challenging weeks of the semester.
  • Thanksgiving Break: Second-most-valued break during the year, usually from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the weekend. 
  • Winter Vacation: This is the big one, starting in mid-December and running until the first week of January. About three to four weeks long, it's a time for Christmas celebrations and New Year's partying.
  • Spring Break: A week-long vacation in March or April, known chiefly for its travel and party culture. It usually gives students a time window for service trips or internships but also presents a chance to rest or finish up personal projects.
  • Summer Break: In college, it’s the most extended holiday from May to August, during which students have the opportunity to do internships, get jobs, and even travel.
  • Reading Days: Placed throughout the semester, these usually fall before final exams. Though officially meant for days of study without classes, they provide a much-needed break for students to prepare for forthcoming examinations.

Breaks on request: good or bad?

How often should you take study breaks? Anytime when you need it. Did you know you can count on other breaks in your study? Yes, it’s not a mistake. Here you go, at least four options to make your life easier.

  1. Mental Health Days: Some colleges and universities respect mental health and permit students to take days off for their mental well-being. This option allows students to stop in case they are overwhelmed or just want to take a break for whatever reason brought on by stress or other mental health-related issues.
  1. Study Abroad Breaks: Some may have special breaks matching the host country's academic calendar. It's a great time to take a trip and immerse yourself in a culture different from the one you studied in the classroom.
  1. Leave of Absence: The student should submit an application for leave of absence in case of personal, health, or professional (internship) reasons that require them to stand back from the program of study for a longer period. This enables students to take a break of either a semester, one full year, or more and return to their studies without paying a penalty.
  1. Gap Year: Sometimes, before or between college studies, some students take a year off and go on a so-called gap year, during which an individual timeout is taken for personal growth, traveling, volunteer work, or other experiences. Planning and college approval are needed, but for those who take it, it offers invaluable life experiences and a chance to rethink the goals lying ahead.

College breaks requested for personal or health reasons often arouse mixed feelings in students, tutors, and the general public. Still, many understand and support such personal choice, considering it rather crucial for mental health and development. 

Nevertheless, in society, an undercurrent insists on judging it. Taking a break might mean someone is not resilient or committed. Both you and your parents might worry about how to go back to college after this vacation. However, the tutors mostly appreciate that such breaks are needed since a student who has taken adequate rest becomes more involved and yields higher productivity. 

The moral dilemma sets in when people equate taking a break to the easy way out, not giving appropriate credit to the value of taking some time off. This cultural shift has to happen so that mental health and personal well-being are seen as part of academic and professional success, not a luxury. 

How to take a break from college: top 7 steps to follow

  1. Reflect on why you need it

Spend some time thinking about why you need a break. Whether for issues with mental health, personal reasons, or exploring other opportunities, you should analyze the reasons. It will help guide your actions and easily voice your needs.

  1. Learn your college's policies

Policies on time off are likely different in each college. Know more about formal leave of absence, informal gap year, or a "mental health break," along with deadlines or necessary documents.

  1. Consult the academic advisor

They're in a better position to advise you on how the break may impact your academic progress and, if possible, assist in planning a return. Equally, academic advisors will provide a way to stay in touch with the college during your break.

  1. Prepare your documentation

Remember to prepare, if needed, any form or letter explaining the reason for needing the break. Be honest about the reasons; if there is any evidence to be attached, then do that.

  1. Work on your time off plan

Think of what you want to do with your time off. The plan is the thing that makes any activity during your break, be it working, traveling, doing your stuff, or just resting, more effective and purposeful.

  1. Stay in touch

If possible, always stay in touch with your classmates and friends. The most surprising fact is that being aware of events can make it easier to return to college and stay updated with all important changes.

  1. Plan your return

Decide when and how you want to return to your studies before your break. It will keep you on track with your academic goals and make it much simpler for you to slide back into college life.

How to get back into college after taking a break

Resting is always a pleasure, but you will need to return to college sooner or later. It’s not so hard if you have a few days break since you’re still moving in the rhythm you’re used to. However, talking about winter or summer vacation and any break on demand, returning to study could be a real pain. You must get up early and catch the focus and flow state. 

A lack of understanding of how to get in study mode leads to frustration and struggle. Unfortunately, long adaptation can affect your education success. But don’t rush to worry — we have collected effective tips for going back to college. 

  1. Reflect on your break experience: Taking just a few minutes to reflect on your break can be incredibly insightful. With this in mind, think of new hobbies you may have tried, new skills you have attained, or personal milestones you have crossed and how those may change the way you do things both in your academic and personal life. 
  1. Bring back the academic mindset: Re-awaken intellectual curiosity and academic skills by interacting with and engaging in online courses related to your field of study or reading books and articles. This way, you can regain a full academic workload, feeling restored and natural.
  1. Stay informed: While you are on break, the academic and administrative environment at the college may change. Obtaining current information regarding changes in curriculum, policies, or faculty and staff would help align one with the present academic environment. The high level of awareness ensures you're not caught off guard by new requirements or opportunities.
  1. Contact your academic advisor: It is rather advisable to reach out to an academic advisor. They will advise and orient you regarding all the principal changes in the academic system, help you choose courses, and advise on whether you can cope with loading in academic studies. This conversation can set a solid foundation for your successful return.
  1. Reconnect with friends and lecturers: Friends provide a support group, while professors can help make settling in fast, both socially and academically. Professor or advisor can assist to get know about the latest trends in academic life and study resources. Such relationships are pertinent to the process of returning to the college community.
  1. Set reasonable goals: Clear and reasonable goals will help to lead a person and give a purpose to his or her return. Breaking these goals into smaller tasks will help you stay calm and not feel overwhelmed when your objectives seem more doable and achievable. The structured approach will significantly boost your motivation and focus.
  1. Establish routine early: A structured daily routine is your best ally in readapting to college life. Starting to get used to your routine before classes will help smoothen the transition and the full schedule shock. It is where you can balance your academic responsibilities and personal time with a proactive approach.
  1. Use the resources: Colleges offer many resources to support your academic and personal well-being. They will assist you whether you need help understanding hard material, get mental health services for emotional support, or plan your career and look forward to the future.
  1. Get involved: Another way to get more out of your back-to-college experience is to get involved fully in the varied activities, be it clubs, sports, or anything else away from the classroom. Being active on campus can reinvigorate your college spirit.
  1. Be flexible: Going back to college means changing your study patterns, trying out new timetables, and being open to new teaching techniques. Flexibility allows you to adjust more smoothly to such changes, enhancing your ability to succeed in the new academic environment.
  1. Taking care of your body: Returning to participation in an active education process with the academic and social demands can overburden you. Therefore, take care of your health and don't let yourself neglect your basic needs.
  1. Celebrate small wins: In this way, you will increase your confidence level and motivation. Whether it's mastering an assignment that you found very tough, attending a campus, or simply following your study schedule — everything is a success for your ability to bounce back and your dedication to your goal. Celebrate such moments to keep your spirits and motivation high.

Wrap up

Returning to college or university after a significant gap will not be without its own set of challenges. However, with the right attitude and resources, it will not be as bumpy as it could be. You have been armed to the teeth with an arsenal of effective recommendations and proven practices on how to get back into studying properly. 

Keep in mind that the process of your studying should be not only beneficial but also enjoyable. But it mostly depends on your attitude toward learning and your strategic action plan. Students need to strike a balance in their studies, understanding that true productivity comes from mixing hard work with quality downtime.

So, in moments of overwhelm, remember that it's perfectly okay to seek help about your academic matters from allies like Paper24. Using this resource can make your life significantly easier, enabling you to learn while dealing with life's more critical matters. 

As you go through student life, enjoy every part of it. Take full advantage of every opportunity to refresh and recharge your energy. Give yourself something pleasant during the breaks in student life. You can then enjoy this experience to the fullest and strike that balance between academic excellence and taking care of yourself.