Will Covid ruin college?

I’m scared to start university. Should I take a year off?

We are all confused right now, says our elder. But stepping out of your comfort zone and going to college will give you more choices for later on.

Dear EWC

I took a gap year after my A levels and then started university last year. However, I got ill after only three weeks and had to drop out (but I was finding it really hard to settle in and make friends and already felt like I wanted to drop out before I got ill). I’m better now and have a place at university for this year. However, I don’t really feel ready to go and also feel anxious that it won’t be a good experience due to Covid 19 as there’ll be social distancing and you still have to pay the full tuition fees for online teaching rather than in person lectures, etc.

I have a job offer to work in a little cafe near me for a year and I am debating deferring my place at university for this year, working for a year and going next year but I don’t know if I’ll regret it. However I know that if I don’t go this year it’s mainly because it’s an excuse to avoid leaving home and going outside my comfort zone as I’m really scared to start university. Any advice would be amazing as I am just so confused as to what to do.

Dave-Scott replies

First thing I would say is that with everything that is happening in the world today, we all are questioning our judgement, rationale, and purpose. In other words, we are all a bit confused and distraught. We are all worried about the future. The thing is, backing off and doing nothing will result in exactly that — nothing.

From what you have said, it sounds like the cafe job would be your nothing. Take that route and in a year or two you will be exactly in the same spot. Your choices of a career will be just as limited as the day you started working there.

Going to college, if nothing else, will move you closer to qualifying to take on something that will allow you many more choices. Yes, the first year of college can be scary. It is simply because you are expected to be an adult for the first time. You are suddenly responsible for everything in your life — it feels like a sink or swim situation everyday. But realize, that is how everyone feels and in the end nearly everyone can swim (or at least dog-paddle).

Yes, college will be difficult because of Covid, but working at a cafe will be difficult as well. Yes, online courses are less desirable than a one-on-one situation, but they will move you forward just the same. Yes, challenging things can be hard, but that is always a part of being successful.

You could take a year off, but, after a year, there will still be challenges ahead. Even if we find a vaccine for Covid, the world is still going to have lasting effects and we will have large adjustments to make.

You have to make your own decisions, but I always found that taking the easy route seldom produced much of a reward. Right now, you are making a decision that has to be based on so many unknowns. Try to fill in those blanks as well as you can. Certainly talk to your parents, and also friends, college administers, and maybe even a counselor. Then, by all means, do what you feel will have the best results for you.

I would also recommend a great self-help book for you: You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. I really think it might provide you with many answers.

Good luck.

Letter #: 462188
Category: School

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