How to Take a semester off from college because of depression?

In this blog, we will discuss taking a semester off from college due to depression, probable causes, and ways to take a break from college due to depression, and also answer frequently asked questions about the topic. 

How to Take a semester off from college because of depression?

You can take a semester off from college because of depression by bringing it up with your professors and friends, seeking the professional guidance of a psychotherapist to help you deal with your depression, seeking support from your friends and family to help you through the tough times, and working on taking care of your mental and physical health.

College may be challenging and stressful, resulting in a high rate of depression among college students. College requires a higher degree of focus, long study hours, and effort than most students are used to in their high schools. 

Students get stressed as a result of their inability to cope with their coursework. It is not shameful to take a break from education due to depression, focus on your mental health, and then return to college or pursue other options.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Causes of taking a semester off from college

Here are a few reasons why students often take a semester off from their college:

  1. You are dissatisfied with your current course.

One of the most common causes of depression in college is disliking the course and subject you have chosen. We are only taught a little piece of a subject in school, but studying it in depth in college might occasionally lead us to discover that it is not the correct subject for us. Students are torn between continuing in their current stream or moving to another. Making that decision can be difficult, and it can lead to depression

  1. You can’t manage college because it’s too much for you.

College offers new and exciting adventures, but it also requires a great deal of hard work and attention on the part of the student. The student must devote time to self-study, coursework, and group projects in addition to participating in extracurricular activities. The amount of study time necessary might be overwhelming for a single student. The tension and worry that leads up to being unable to cope might lead to depression.

  1. You are unable to manage the problems at home as well as in your college life.

Some pupils may be experiencing issues at home like a family member’s bad health or illness, a financial problem, or a natural disaster at home. Thinking about family members may cause a lot of stress for students, making it difficult for them to manage their college life and give their all. Being unable to handle home issues while delivering on the academic front might lead to despair in a student.

  1. You are unable to manage the problem at home as well as in your college life.

Some pupils may be experiencing issues at home, or there may be an ongoing crisis at home. This might involve a family member’s bad health or illness, a financial problem, or a natural disaster at home. Thinking about family members may cause a lot of stress for students, making it difficult for them to manage their college life and give their all. Being unable to handle home issues while delivering on the academic front might lead to despair in a student.

  1. You miss your schoolmates and relatives back home.

Sometimes students apply to institutions that are relatively far away from their hometown. This means kids begin to miss their family back home as well as their school buddies. Furthermore, being unable to create new acquaintances and ties at college might leave you feeling pretty lonely. Depression can be brought on by the sense of being alone and away from your loved ones. Having a strong social support system has been demonstrated to reduce the likelihood of depression.

  1. Inability to meet academic criteria

Academically, college is highly hard, and it is critical to stay up with academic standards. Some students fail to do so, causing homework to pile up and deadlines to become closer and scarier. Being unable to keep up with your peers can have a negative impact on a student’s self-esteem and confidence. This might make a student feel like a failure, undeserving of their college seat, and discouraged to even attempt. This might soon lead to the pupil becoming sad.

  1. The financial strain is getting unbearable.

College is highly expensive, putting a significant financial load on the student and their family. If the student becomes anxious about their financial condition and how it is hurting their family, it can be damaging to their mental health. The student is likely to feel more pressure to do very well in class. Keeping up with their high expectations, as well as the expectations of the family, might become too much for the children, causing sadness.

How to know if you are going through depression?

You can go through the signs and symptoms of depression as mentioned below and see if you have any signs of depression:

  • Low, gloomy, and depressed mood that persists
  • Sadness or a sense of worthlessness
  • Concentration, memory, or decision-making difficulties
  • Low self-confidence
  • Suicide and death-related thoughts
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Loss of weight or weight gain
  • Other physical signs and symptoms include headaches, stomachaches, and muscle aches and pains.

Tips to Help you Take a Semester off from College If You’re Depressed

If you need to take a semester off from college due to depression, these are the measures you may take:

  1. Seek assistance from the university.

If you intend to take a break from college due to depression, seek assistance from your university. Talk to your professors about taking a break or seeking their advice on how to cope with your studies while going through a time tough with depression. 

You might also seek assistance from the university counsellor on how to proceed. It is also critical to call and consult with the accounting department about what would happen to your fees and loan repayment status if you took a sabbatical.


  1. Determine the core reason for your depression.

It is critical to identify the fundamental reason for depression before taking a vacation from education. 

Once you know what is causing your sadness, you may decide whether taking a vacation from education would help or whether it is something you can work on while still in college. Before attempting to solve an issue, it is critical to identify its fundamental cause.

  1. Make a list of your potential possibilities.

Before taking a vacation from education, make a list of all of your current alternatives. This might include taking a semester off from college, going to part-time college, continuing education while obtaining separate psychiatric treatment, or dropping out entirely and looking for another job. 

Make sure you are aware of all of your alternatives, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.

  1. Make a strategy for yourself.

Make a strategy for yourself once you’ve considered all of your possibilities. The strategy should guarantee that you receive treatment for your depression, that it does not jeopardize your job path, and that it is both feasible and practical. You must devise a strategy based on the fundamental reason for your depression.

  1. Learn about your alternatives if you wish to return to college.

If you want to take a vacation from college, make sure to contact your university and inquire about your possibilities for returning to college. Most institutions don’t mind if you take a semester off and then return to school. 

However, be certain that you understand how the costs and lending system operates, as well as whether there are any additional expenses you will be required to pay. Inquire about how you will make up for the missed time and whether there is another course you may take during the break to assist you to make up for the credits.


  1. Seek psychotherapy and mental health interventions

If you believe you need the assistance of a mental health professional, you should consult with a counsellor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. It may be your university advisor, someone from the government, or someone from the private sector.

How to manage your studies with depression?

If you are having a tough time taking a break from college due to depression due to various reasons. Let us look at ways to manage your studies while you battle through depression:

  • Seek a mental health professional to help you through your depression and management of your symptoms
  • Get ample amount of sleep
  • Include the practice of mindfulness in your life
  • Work on your stress management skills or talk to your therapist about it and you can work out a strategy that works out for you
  • Do not indulge in alcohol consumption as it worsens your mental and physical health
  • Avoid smoking up or doing drugs as it worsens depression
  • Eat a healthy and nutritious diet
  • Build your support system including your family, friends, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to Take a semester off from college because of depression?

Is it possible for you to take a mental health sabbatical from college?

Yes, you can take a mental health sabbatical from college if your mental health is interfering with your academic performance and preventing you from participating in other campus activities. If the degree of anguish caused by it becomes intolerable, take a mental health break.

Should I take a semester off to focus on my mental health?

Yes, you should take a semester off for mental health if you believe it is interfering with your performance. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s critical to look after your emotional and physical health.

Is it OK to include depression in a college essay?

Yes, it is OK to include depression and other mental health issues in your college essay. As long as the goal of mentioning it is to explain discrepancies or gaps in your academic record.

How can college students maintain their mental health?

As a college student, you should make time for yourself to maintain your mental health. Work should not be a source of stress for you. If you are feeling down or anxious, talk to a trusted person about it, such as your college counsellor or instructor.

Can you leave college and return?

Yes, you may quit college and return, but it may be challenging. You must repeat the entrance and enrolling procedure and may be required to pay an extra cost.

What if I take a semester off from college?

If you miss a semester of college, it shouldn’t make much of a difference because most federal loans provide students a 6-month grace period. Most of the time, if you return at least half-time after going off, the grace period just restarts.


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