COVID-19 gap year

Hello, I’m a Pomona college '22 (likely now '23) student on the chemical engineering track with Harvey Mudd. When they announced that fall was to be online, and that my study abroad program was cancelled, I decided to take a gap year. I was staying with my parents in Texas, but I found a good full time job reviewing medical reports in San Dimas, CA so I rented an apartment (1 bed/ 1 bath to myself) and moved to CA as an actual resident. My parents were reluctant to let me go, because they think me taking this time off will prevent me from finishing my studies. Eventually they relented, and I moved into my new apartment. However, a lot of my friends jokingly have called me a college dropout and some of my old professors who I still talk to tell me that a gap year usually leads to students not wanting to go back to school because “life gets in the way”. Also, I’ve been told by older people that it is better to get school done before working or else I might continue my job or the rest of my life.
Not to mention, I won a scholarship for study abroad, but I think I should cancel it, because a year and 1 semester off seems like too much from what I’m hearing. What are your views of my gap year and the study abroad scholarship, should i contact the agency that I’m no longer interested in studying abroad?
Also, its too late to cancel the gap year since I signed a lease, but did I make the right move? I feel like i cant do engineering online, especially in my household with my mentally disabled sibling.

I think your decision to take a gap year is well thought out and planned. Don’t let your friends and professors dissuade you from your choice. You sound like a smart, organized and focused student. Taking 6 months off (which is really what constitutes an academic school year) from your studies will not derail your life goals.

I also agree that studying engineering online is less than optimal. Hopefully by Fall 2021 college academics will be closer to “pre-covid” delivery and at worst, if classes are still online, professors will have a year of online teaching experience under their belts and delivery will be improved.

As far as your study abroad, I would recommend taking sone time to consider whether you still want to go and to see if the program will be available next Fall. Covid has caused so many opportunities to be in flux. Alternatively you could see if you could study abroad Spring 2022.

Also thought you might find this article interesting.

“The thought of taking a year away from school scares many parents says Brody. But research from Middlebury College suggests that a gap year can be academically beneficial. According to a study by Robert Clagett, the school’s former dean of admissions, 90% of students return to college within a year, and their GPAs are higher than students who didn’t take a gap year by 0.1 to 0.4 on a 4.0 scale.”

Very insightful. Thank you

Many colleges view gap year students favorably as you have had that extra time to grow, develop some personal responsibility and have experiences that strengthen your role as a student.

A gap year does not negate what your end goals are in life. One year in the scheme of things is not long at all and that is what I told me daughter when she decided to take a gap year after graduating high school. She is on track to be looking into schools for enrollment next fall. Just because your friends are calling you a dropout does not mean you are. You know what you have planned for yourself, stick to your gut and follow your heart.

phillymom75 I agree wholeheartedly.
ochuego - As a Pomona grad who took a gap year, time away from academics only made me more excited and happy to be on campus. And as a parent of a CMC '21, it is difficult to think of my kid having to do the Claremont work without the Claremont vibe, interaction and beautiful campus. Life is full of opportunities, just remember don’t let anyone tell you that it is not important to go back. Write down all the reasons that you love being at Pomona and when your year and your semester abroad are finished, read the list and return! Every semester of college is a gift, a totally get why you wouldn’t want to use one or two of them up toiling away in your room. We are from Texas too…be glad you aren’t here right now. Live your adventure, but graduate. Good luck. Chirp.
P.S. I have a high school senior too, and guess what she is planning to do…