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Why I decided to take a year off

Just like that, three years passed. What started as a spectacular adventure slowly turned into my normal, everyday life. Living on this Mediterranean island where life is oh so relaxed, enjoying eight months of sunshine and long summer days, and going to university with those who have become my very best friends.

It’s been three years of learning more than what is taught in between the walls of university. Even more than from books, I learnt through travelling, meeting and experiencing. But also adapting, adjusting, and sometimes straight-up struggling. Moving abroad is high-risk, high-reward. It is absolutely worth it, but it’s not always easy.

As I finished my final exams and assignments, I was accepted for a masters degree at the University of Malta. But after loads of reflection and speaking to those that know me best, I decided that’s not what I want to do right now.

It is time to take a year off.

I’ve been in formal education for seventeen years straight. Not a single time did I redo a year or take a break. Even after having a psychosis I managed to sit for my exams and hand in all of my assignments.

My final year has been a rollercoaster. In between hospitalisation, a diagnosis and a pandemic, I managed to graduate. Instead of taking time off to slowly and properly recover, I made it my goal to finish my education and fit in an internship while I was at it.

It has been a lot. And while I am doing everything I ever dreamed of, I came to the conclusion that it is a tad too much and too soon.

If there is a right time to do this, it is right now. I am twenty years old, the world is up for grabs. I can do what I want and be where I want. I am young, free and open to do anything.

But this won’t be another year of travel and adventure. This will be a year of active recovery. Of focussing on my mental health and feeling rather than thinking. Because even though I am not responsible for my mental illness, I am responsible for my healing.

This year I will rest, refresh and reinvigorate. Those were the words that lingered in my mind when I decided it was time to take a break. And I can’t put into words how much of a weight off my shoulders that was.

I have plans and dreams, because the last thing I want is to end up doing nothing. And while everything is starting to take shape, I am taking life day by day.

As Ferris Bueller said it: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”



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