Gap Semester Before Transfer

Hello! I recently completed two years of college at Oxford College of Emory University and am now transferring to the University of GA. While I was excelling academically at Oxford, I was dealing with some mental health issues that led to me to decide to transfer in addition to UGA’s cheaper cost and larger array of major options. I was pursuing a neuroscience and behavioral biology degree at Emory, but during quarantine, after being forced to slow down and think about what I want for my life, I have come to realize that I do not want to pursue scientific research, as I was planning, and thus I am no longer sure of what I want to do with my life. Over the past several months I have researched many different career options, including medicine, public health, therapy, and urban planning, and still have no idea what path to pursue. I have been so unsure of what to pursue that I have not been able to sign up for classes this fall, and I know that I have little time left to do so. In addition, UGA has deemed most of my credits from Oxford College as elective credits, so I have little to show for my past two years in college. While this gives me the chance to start over, it also stresses me out and makes me feel as though I have wasted the last two years. This has all led me to begin considering a gap semester. This option terrifies me, but I am also terrified of spending more money at UGA to pursue a degree which I don’t want or to end up changing my mind again and taking even longer to finish my undergraduate degree. I have only recently begun to consider this idea and thus do not yet know what I would do during the gap semester, but I think that I would pursue an internship In medicine or another field or take part in a gap semester program that would allow me to work in several different fields. I would not take the gap semester unless I had something lined up. In addition, I know that I would have to talk to my advisor and make sure that this made sense and was possible. However, my questions for right now are:

  1. Has anyone taken a gap semester in the middle of college? Did it help or hurt you?
  2. Does it look bad to graduate programs/medical schools to take a gap semester in the middle of college if one participates in an internship or program during that time?
  3. Does anyone have any advice for deciding on a major/career? Would taking a gap semester potentially help with this, assuming I attained an internship or participated in a program?
    Thank you!

Taking a gap semester to engage in an internship or gainful employment is an excellent way to enhance one’s college experience.

I feel for you, man. I was pretty much in the exact same boat as you at the start of this semester. My mental health plummeted after my first year in college, and I had to take a semester off to get healthy again. While I couldn’t do much during my leave of absence on account of the world being on fire, I was able to focus on something much more important: my mental health. There’s a lot of pressure to be the perfect applicant and fine tune your life to get into college, but if you get too caught up in that mindset, the time you take off from college will only make you feel worse. It doesn’t hurt to get a part-time job or work on a meaningful personal project, but I wouldn’t do anything too strenuous if you’re in a dark place. Best of luck to you, dude.