Son Needing Time Off!!

<p>My son is in his first semester of his third year of college. He is a physics major/chem minor and loves the field, wants to continue to PHD. He worked in his field this summer and loved it. He called me last night and out of the blue, informed me that he was burnt out, wasn't able to absorb any knowledge this year, and wants to take time off. He maintains a 3.8 average, and so far this year has done well. He says he just wants a break. I was floored by this. He has a meeting with the dean tomorrow. A talk with someone from the deans office today just talked about how easy it would be to take time off and return. I think this would be a huge mistake. He lives about three hours from home, and home sickness is not an issue. In fact he says he would live near the school with friends, and not back at home. I don't know what to do. Any similar stories, help, I am in shock, and trying to do or say the right things.</p>

<p>How is he going to support himself? What is he going to do about his health insurance when he is not a full time student any more? Does he have a plan?</p>

<p>Is he planning on finishing this term and then taking a break?</p>

<p>I think if it were my kid, I’d be tempted to scramble to find a study abroad program for next term. That way, the kid gets the break they want, but doesn’t waste 6 months sitting on the couch.</p>

<p>He would leave tomorrow if he could. I am at this point, just trying to convince him to stick it out for a few months.</p>

<p>Under the new health bill he doesn’t need to be a full time student to stay on insurance if he is dependent on parents and is under 26.</p>

<p>I don’t see why it would be the parents’ responsibility to try to scramble to find anything for him to do. </p>

<p>I would find out if mentally he is ok. Did something happen? Drive up to see him tomorrow to make sure he is ok and have a heart to heart talk with him. Most people don’t feel the need to leave right away if everything is ok. Was there a break up? Did he have a bad run in with someone?</p>

<p>He has worked steady since he was fourteen. He worked full time all summer. He would work when not in school. If he left, his really great paid internship could also be in jeopardy. He helps pay for his school, and helps with his expenses. I am a single mother and we are not getting any financial help.</p>

<p>Honestly, a junior in college is capable of making his own decisions.</p>

<p>I’d listen to him and find out what he wants to do and the reasons why he would like to take some time off. I’d ask him about how he came to the decision and what the implications are. But in the end, if he wants time off, he will take him off whether he is enrolled in college or not. Right?</p>

<p>I don’t think health insurance is an effective argument to convince a junior in college to stay in college…remember, he is still wearing his invincible cloak.</p>

<p>A junior in college may not care about health insurance, food, transportation…but as parents we do.</p>

<p>Oldfort, that was my first thought. He has a longtime girlfriend, lots of friends, and says that everything, other than “education burnout”, is fine. I hope that is the case. He was very emotional when I talked to him. He says he is upset because he feels he is disappointing his family.</p>

<p>I agree with oldfort. Check that he is okay. (Just saw your new post, peeweepete-then assure him that he is not disappointing his family and suggest he talk to someone who can help him sort this out). You sound like a very concerned parent . All the best to you and him.</p>

<p>IF HE does want to go abroad there are a number of programs that school will accept credit from–such as Semester at Sea–that he could no doubt arrange. First see that he is actually OK and then open up the box–even if it means an extra $10,000 loan. He may just be burned out and feeling boxed in. I remember feeling this the fall of my 2nd year and with no family money and the fear of losing financial aid and grants I felt I had to stay or work in a factory the rest of my life.</p>

<p>A healthy, male, junior in college has no problem obtaining insurance. Insurance companies love to have those in their pool because they require so little medical attention.</p>

<p>I am aware of all the insurance related issues. I just think he needs to suck it up and finish his degree. Then take the time off. I don’t know how to convince him of this. I know he is an adult, he can do what he chooses. I just feel like at that age I still could have used guidance.
He actually said that he is going to classes, doing well on tests, but not absorbing important stuff he has to know??</p>



<p>Think if a situation that has been difficult in your life. Flying on an airplane. Seeing a spider in the room. Earwigs in the bed. Getting trapped in an underground mine for 2 months.</p>

<p>It’s is just as difficult for your son to finish the next 6 - 10 weeks of the term as it is for a claustrophobic person to sit in an airplane for 3 hours. You can’t just “suck it up”. He needs to find some way of motivating himself and pushing himself to finish the quarter.</p>

<p>Physics and engineering is an incredibly challenging major. The good news is that life is much easier. But telling that to someone is like telling a claustrophic person that they will get out of the tube in 3 hours. It’s an eternity for a person who is struggling.</p>

<p>OP, He seems to be trying to tell you he is burnt out from school and maybe family expectations? Sounds like he is being pretty clear that he needs a break. Hopefully,in meeting with the dean he can sort things out to be able to remain in school right now. If he is so upset, I doubt he will be able to just suck it up.</p>

<p>It sounds like he has been working and studying quite a bit for quite some time without enough downtime. My daughter told me that she wanted to drop a course because of issues with her professor. She was doing fine in the course but I trusted her judgement and said okay. Dropping a semester is a bigger deal than a course in terms of money and time spent but he wouldn’t be asking for this lightly. He seems to be well-accomplished in rough majors and I would think that he knows his mind and body well enough to determine that he needs a full stop.</p>

<p>I would take it seriously and, as already mentioned, take a trip out there to talk to him.</p>

<p>I do agree that you need to listen to what he is saying. I imagine it must have been quite hard for him to come to this decision and to tell yo about it. He has already made plans to talk to the dean about it so he obviously is very serious about it.</p>

<p>^^ BC’s recommendation might be a good compromise. If your son were to drop one class, it might give him some breathing room that he seems to need at the moment. Has your son had the talk with the Dean to review his options? If so, was the outcome a recommendation to drop a semester, a class, or arrange for an overseas semester?
You are lucky he cares enough to seek your input. Keep an open mind and he may surprise you with the solution. It sounds like you have brought up a fine young man. Hang in there!
APOL-a Mum</p>