Why I’m Taking the Semester Off and Moving to China

When you just start college, the only thing any freshman is thinking about is how am I going to survive this. No more, no less. The first year of college is stressful enough without having to think about adding resume builders such as internships, independent research, and study abroad opportunities. Freshman are simply trying to keep their heads above water, pass their classes, trim the amount of time spent crying in the dorm shower and maybe make a friend, or at least that was my experience.

Entering your second year of school, you are more comfortable with the college culture and the workload. The growth in confidence that comes along with this newfound comfortability breeds goals. Typically, the goal for sophomore year is to get good grades, instead of trying to solely pass your classes. If you were brave enough to join a club your first year, then you may want to run for a leadership position. You get more involved on campus, and slowly start to figure out what you might want to do with your life, or at least what you want to do with your time here on campus.

Then, there’s junior year. This is the year that tends to be more major focused, and leads itself to be the time to find internships and more extracurricular activities that will add a little pizazz to your resume. This is where I was when I realized I was halfway through my time as a college student, slowly approaching senior year and panicking at the thought. I decided that this was going to be the year I chose me.

More than anything else, college is the time to be selfish about your needs and your wants. Take the time to slow down. Take the time to appreciate this in-between stage of your life. There is so much value in recognizing that you aren’t supposed to know what your future holds, and that’s what makes it exciting. This is the time to make mistakes, to fall in love with yourself, and seek experiences that will change the way you see the world.

Before I graduate and land a grownup job (hopefully), my goal for myself is to travel and push my boundaries. I want to gain more global experience, and engulf myself into different cultures and people. There will be no other time in my life where I can drop everything for four months and travel the world.

So, yes. My 2018 resolution is to be more selfish. I want to be more selfish with my time, my needs and my wants. This doesn’t mean I’m going to do so at the expense of others, but I am going to put my self-improvement and happiness above all else. And so far, this means temporarily dropping out of school to teach English to kindergarten students in Zhongshan, China until the end of June. Where my goal for this year will lead me after that, I don’t know but I’ll keep in touch.