Taking Time Off From School

By Dr. Robert Wallace

May 21, 2021 4 min read

DR. WALLACE: This last year has been a very difficult one for my parents and me. Due to many financial hardships my family has experienced, I made the decision to postpone attending university.

When I decided to take a year off, I had planned on returning this year, but so far, it hasn't happened. I had to get a job to help support my family since both of my parents have drifted into and out of various jobs that have not provided much family income. I have much younger siblings still living at home, too, so I feel a responsibility to help everyone out financially.

How can I get myself back on track and go back to school when everyone else is still struggling just to get by and pay the bills? — Seeking Higher Education, via email

SEEKING HIGHER EDUCATION: Taking time off in between high school and college can, at times, be important for personal growth, as with your situation. It's a very mature, noble thing to put your family first and jump in to help out the household, despite your personal desires to go in another direction.

Don't feel too bad about your situation, as it's not uncommon. The pandemic has stunted the plans of millions of people around the world. I trust you will eventually return to college and successfully get your degree.

While things are still tight for your family, perhaps you could take one course at a time at your local community college until you have more time to return to school full time.

Try to find a good subject that you can earn units in that will be transferable to a four-year university. Speak to a counselor about your situation, and get a recommendation accordingly. Even having one class at a community college will help you feel reconnected to your educational goals. You can slowly begin to add more as your family's finances begin to improve — hopefully soon!


DR. WALLACE: Even though our school is still closed because of COVID-19, our school district has recently made physical education an elective course and not a required course. I'll be in the ninth grade when our school reopens this fall, and I want to continue taking PE classes.

But now my parents think that PE is a big waste of time. I still will be taking English, biology, algebra and Spanish classes as well, so it's not like I would be just hanging around our track and gym all the time.

I'd like to hear what you think so I can hopefully show your answer to my parents. Which side of this issue do you come down on? — Physically Fit Boy, via email

PHYSICALLY FIT BOY: You've come to the right source to help you with your side of the debate. I am extremely pro-physical education, and in fact, I feel this program should be mandatory for both boys and girls.

Without physical endurance, social and learning skills suffer to some degree. For some high school teens, school physical education is the only physical activity they get, and for others, it's often the primary source. For these reasons, I feel it's quite important. A balance between physical activity and studious mental learning is optimal for success.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: MatanVizel at Pixabay

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