Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

Taking a break from college..

MelissavyMelissavy Registered User Posts: 9 New Member

I need some advice or just I guess words from others in a difficult situation I am having. I was a very driven high school student, got into a good college and was a deans lists student for my first year. I am an upcoming sophomore or was... My dream was and still is to become a doctor.

Unfortunately, my world turned for the worst in April. My mother was diagnosed with stage 4 bile duct cancer with a poor prognosis of 6 months or less. In my home it is only my brother, mother and I. My brother is a special needs child and that has left me as the only caregiver for my mother.

My mother was the head of the household but with the illness is very weak to get out of the and has stopped working. Two treatments have failed for her already, with each scan showing her tumors are growing. In June, the doctor gave us the option to try a different type of chemotherapy with low chances, or do nothing and let the cancer take its course.

My mother is my world as she is the only person I grew up with, and the only one who has been by my side for everything. I always imagined celebrating my career path and successes with her. I am now in summer break but school is starting in August. I have decided to take a break for the fall or even spring too ( a year) and start again in fall 2019. I just want know does it matter what age or how long I take to finish my undergrad? I only have completed my freshman year and am 19. I know medical school is very hard to get into but with my mother being ill I am so down and sad I don't have the will to leave her alone. Will things work out? I am just so lost...Thank you.

Replies to: Taking a break from college..

  • CaMom13CaMom13 Registered User Posts: 1,033 Senior Member
    I agree - your gap in college progression to take care of family will not be an issue for medical school admissions. Take care of yourself, too. Please try to find a support group - online or in your area. Caring for a sick parent and being head of household is a huge amount of responsibility for someone of your age and doing that work while also trying to stay strong for your mom puts a lot on your shoulders. I am so sorry you are going through this and I will hope and pray for a medical breakthrough for your mom.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,254 Senior Member
    I'm sorry you are going through this at such a young age. Definitely be up front with your school about why you are taking a gap year but it won't matter for your education. This time with your mother will be precious. Be sure to get help!
  • MelissavyMelissavy Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Thank you all for your kind replies. This has given me more reassurance. I wish the best for you all as well.
  • HowardGradlyHowardGradly Registered User Posts: 139 Junior Member
    Of course your academic and career goals will work out for you. Wishing the best for you and your family Melissa.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 7,535 Senior Member
    My prayers for your mom and your family.

    To answer your question: college is not high school. There's no real limit on how long it takes, or on when you finish.

    Take care of what needs to be done at home, then worry about going back. And don't be afraid to lean on your extended family.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,956 Senior Member
    You are doing the right thing. College can wait. Medical schools should appreciate your sacrifice & caring nature.

    You are an adult--a responsible adult. Life is not easy, but I expect that it will be very rewarding for you.
  • shawnspencershawnspencer Registered User Posts: 3,110 Senior Member
    Plenty of people I know have taken a break from college and have successfully finished it later. I think it is good that you are prioritizing what is important to you, best wishes for your situation.
  • Midwest67Midwest67 Registered User Posts: 2,502 Senior Member
    edited August 2018

    I am so sorry you are going through this. You've gotten good advice so far.

    A very long time ago, in my second year of college, my mother received a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis and she passed away months later. It was a complete shock to my world. She was my only (involved) parent. No aunts or uncles. My siblings were all older, out of the house, and busy with their own lives. I felt so awfully, terribly alone.

    In hindsight, I wish I had taken an extended break from college (instead of staying and wrecking my GPA).

    I also wish I had gotten into therapy sooner, & stuck with it long term, so I would have had an adult to talk to & access to balanced advice.

    It was two rough years, then I began to feel like I was starting to heal and break through the fog of grief.

    You can have an amazing life you love, despite deeply painful events. This is an unexpected detour, not the end.

    The love you feel for your mother, and the love she feels for you, can never ever be taken away from you. You will always carry it with you. She will always be with you, but in a different form. I understand if you don't believe me now because the shock and grief can overwhelm.

    Let your goals and dreams and values be the lighthouse as you navigate the rough waters. You will get through it!
  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU Posts: 12,468 Forum Champion
    Make sure you talk to the Dean of Students at your college to make sure you take an official leave of absence (not jut drop out) so you can be assured you can go back if you need to.
  • noname87noname87 Registered User Posts: 1,198 Senior Member
    You have gotten good advice.

    This break should have absolutely no effect on you career plans except that you will be one year older.

    I can't speak authoratively about medical school but being older when you applied shouldn't hurt you since medical school tend to like older more mature students.

    Lots of student take breaks for many differnt reasons. It is more common then you think.
  • UndercrackersUndercrackers Registered User Posts: 751 Member
    Work with your school and any financial institutions that you may owe money to, take the leave, do what you need to do for your family. There is not one single path to our goals - your journey will just be different than others.
  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 Registered User Posts: 4,254 Senior Member
    Big hugs and prayers @Melissavy. Your mom will most certainly be proud of you. I'm so sorry for you loss but happy that you had that time with your mom before she passed. Lots of love to you and your family.
Sign In or Register to comment.