College Interrupted: Getting Your Groove Back
It sounds ominous, but interrupting college can be a good thing. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation lists poor preparation, not enough quality time with teachers and counselors, and a de-motivating college environment among the top reasons students leave school. To an observer in the college support field, these look like excellent reasons to leave school–each showing a certain level of self-awareness.
Taking a medical leave can be a very smart way to regroup. But getting back into the groove at school can be difficult. Many students feel like they are out of step or have fallen behind their peers. We just don’t see it that way.
Whatever your reason for taking leave and no matter what you did while you were away, you gained some valuable information and experience and are now better equipped to face the challenges college presents. You know more about yourself; you have new resiliencies. You know what happened in the past; and you are better able to recognize what trips you up.
The challenge now is to take your new skills and generalize them to life on campus. The societal and familial expectations attached to the college experience are so much greater now that you are overcoming a setback that as many as 50% of returning students repeat the harmful patterns that led them to step away from school in the first place.
The risk is real, but so are the rewards: we’ve got more to work with now. Think of it as actionable data. We will use this data (i.e. your new depth of experience and self-awareness) to inform our work together. By acknowledging historic mistakes, we are better prepared to avoid them in the future.
Our model is similar to those we create for new students: we start with individual goals and work backward. Your goals paint the picture of what success looks like for you. Here’s where your picture differs from that of a new student: the new student starts with an entirely blank canvas whereas you already have a color palette. Your picture of success is not exactly paint-by-number, but you have a good framework. Having lived through a ‘non-success’ you have more ideas and better tools.
Are you wondering what those tools are? Here are a few to jog your memory:
- You are better prepared
- You are stronger
- You know your triggers
- You know how to ask for help
- You know the importance of community
- You know the importance of taking a break and building self-care into your plan
- You will continue to learn about yourself
It will take hard work. And you will get your groove back. Let’s