Being a student is hard, every one of you knows this. However, not everyone realizes just how hard it is. According to research cited by ABCNews, one out of every five students reports having suicidal thoughts. One in ten students actually attempts suicide. That’s how hard it is! Taking a sabbatical is a great way to reduce the stress that makes students suffer, thus, helping improve their mental health. With this change, your academic performance will no doubt improve as well, so your prospects for the future will be much brighter.
What Is a Sabbatical and Why Do You Need It?
By definition, a sabbatical is a break from work, but one should never see it as slacking off. In the world of academia, this is a time used for personal research and growth. Therefore, as a student taking this kind of leave, you should not only use the time to kick back and relax—although that is important as well. But you also need to use this break to learn new things that will help you shine when you get back to your studies.
Of course, everyone has their own reasons for taking a sabbatical, but the most common of them are:
- Stress relief
- Dealing with personal issues
- Recovering after a personal ordeal
- Time to complete additional research
- Opportunity to do some self-digging when one is unsure of where to go with their studies
For the majority of students, the reason they take a sabbatical is a combination of all of the above with a side serving of personal drama. But, if you are considering this kind of break, you need to think hard about why you are doing this. Be honest with yourself because you need to understand these reasons in order to set the right goals.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Sabbatical Leave from School
To make the most of your sabbatical you need to accomplish two things: to rest and to learn. The best and most entertaining way to achieve both is to travel. A clever student can find ways to travel the world even on a shoestring budget. You can use a variety of free or cheap services like Couchsurfing or Airbnb to get accommodation, travel using low-cost flights, and choose destinations where your pocket money will go a long way.
You will have many opportunities to learn things. First of all, you will be gaining valuable experience in being independent and surviving on your own. That’s a fairly big challenge when you are cut off from your support network. While stressful in a way, this experience will teach you important skills that will help you build a successful career later.
Nowadays, being away from school doesn’t mean that you need to stop learning in the more ‘traditional’ sense. Online classes and portals full of valuable information are always available to explore. Now that you are on sabbatical, you will finally have time to research the topics that interest you most.
However, keep in mind that the cheapest destinations often have the least open-minded governments, so you’ll need a way to work around Internet restrictions. The good news is that you can reach any content if you hide your IP with Tor, avoid geo-blocks with VPN, or use a proxy server. Out of these three, proxy services are least secure, so only go for them if there are no other options. Tor is good for maintaining your online privacy and anonymity, but it can be blocked altogether as a service. A VPN is the most reliable solution and advanced apps available today only reduce your browsing speed by a little.
Another great way to spend your sabbatical is to go volunteering. Depending on your specialization, you might even use volunteering programs as educational opportunities. The experience and knowledge gained through these can change you and might very well change your future career.
Volunteering and traveling also provide you with an opportunity to establish connections. Of course, making new friends is always fun, but you should also think about the future. Try to meet people who can help the progress of your career. Think about this when choosing a volunteer program. Depending on your situation, you might even consider taking an unpaid internship.
Taking a sabbatical might as well join the list of tips on dealing with pressure to succeed in school. The break will provide some distance and perspective so you can reevaluate your attitude towards your studies. Remember that pushing yourself too hard results in burnout instead of stellar skill.
If you are stuck in your research, a sabbatical might give you a chance to get inspiration or push you to switch directions. But before you decide to take a break, make sure you are doing this for the right reasons.
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