When I first tell people that I am taking a semester off from school to go serve abroad, one of the first questions I get asked is, “Wow, do you really dislike school that much?” In actuality, it’s the complete opposite, because of how much I love UD and the opportunities it gives me, I am able to take time off from school.

A little background on the situation – I am a sophomore communications and international relations double-major with a passion for serving others. Last fall, I realized that my education was something that I enjoyed, but it was also just a stepping stone to bigger things. I realized that the worst thing I could do would be to follow the easy path: finish my degrees in three and a half years, intern somewhere cool for a semester, go on to get my masters, and then end up in some cushy job, having never taken the time to travel the world and help others.  Once this idea to travel NOW entered my head I started exploring whether it was feasible within the confines of UD’s academic framework.

UD offers so many opportunities to come in with credits or get credits beyond the typical Fall/Spring schedule. I was able to come in with a handful of credits and then had the opportunity to take not only summer classes, but winter classes as well. This set me up so that after taking a semester off I am able to come back and still graduate within the four year time period (which definitely makes my parents feel better about everything)! Now that I had figured out that I could easily do this academically, I began seeking advice from mentors and peers.

Everybody that I talk to about this is so supportive and encourages me to follow my dreams now while I’m able and have relatively little commitment. Because of the typical reaction I get when I tell people about my decision, I am often apprehensive, especially when it comes to telling professors and other UD administrators. After a discussion last December with Honors Program Coordinator, Sarah Georger, I became much more excited about my decision, and many nerves were dissolved. I told her about my decision and she was instantly supportive, promising to help in any way she could to make the transition out and back into UD as smooth as possible.

All of this being said, I am not writing this trying to convince everyone to drop-out of school and find a third-world country to go volunteer. I am writing this to emphasize the amazing opportunities UD allows students solely through their support. So, FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS. If that means starting a new RSO that reflects your interests, DO IT. If that means taking a class online so you can also spend those extra three hours at your dream internship in Wilmington, DO IT. This school wants you to succeed and follow your passions.

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