The Game Plan

by Katelyn Block on September 20, 2012 · 25 comments

Morning everyone! I have to say… I am blown away by the response to yesterday’s post. I also owe you guys some idea of the game plan.

It’s easy to understand that yesterday’s post caused a lot of support, dissent, and general assumptions, because when I write I always seem to make things sound really extreme. I’m also really vague sometimes. Gotta work on that.

My plan is not to drop out of school. If I were to do that, it would take a lot more thinking, discussion with my family about what the heck I’d be doing, as well as planning. I like to think I’m spontaneous sometimes, but I’m not that spontaneous. I would have an action plan. I also wouldn’t be dropping out of school to blog. Keep in mind, friends, I share a lot with you guys, but not everything. There is much more available to me career-development wise besides just writing blog posts every day. Trust me on that.

So then, what is my plan?! I’m staying at Syracuse this semester. I’m already into my classes, and if I start something, heck, I’m going to try my darndest to finish it. But after this semester, I am going to make a decision about whether I feel it’s right to take time off. This would be just spring semester. I’m about to sound like the dumbest person in the world, but my parents begged me to take time off from school (a semester to a year) to work, center myself, and figure out what the heck I really want to do.

They explained to me this wasn’t because I was a failure in any way (a feeling that comes over me from time to time, for example when I feel “lost” in the sea of majors and programs here), but because they think it would be really beneficial to me as someone who not only has a lot going on (in life and in that noggin of mine), but as someone who has a lot of passions that need time to develop and be channeled somewhere a bit more focused, rather than bouncing from program to program because nothing feels “right”. Time off would be a great time for me to develop all of the projects I have going on outside of University, travel, build connections, and become a little bit more comfortable with the fact that this is where I am now and where I need to focus my energy.

One thing I want to make very clear is that I am so, so incredibly fortunate to be here. Sometimes when I have feelings like I have the last week, it nearly makes me sick that my parents are paying so much money for a University when I’m not 100% sure it’s going to help me in the future. Please understand that I am not ungrateful. The issue is not that I feel comfortable to “throw away” an education. I am so fortunate to have it, but it’s expensive.

The price of an education in America in this day in age is disgusting. If I could go to school for less money in another country and not go crazy banana sandwich on everyone, I would, except I would miss America too much. A semester or two away, great, all four years, I would probably cry. Back to the point. An education is expensive, and to have the feelings inside that money is constantly being poured into school (hundreds of dollars every day…. gives me a sick feeling sometimes) and not sure if I really need everything I’m being put through here is hard. It is. It’s a struggle. And I feel like a lot of students get this feeling, not sure if this is where they’re supposed to be, and results in a lot of internal confusion.

I have very strong opinions once I decide on something, and I’ve realized that mentally I am in “different place” than I was in high school. In high school, I was able to apply myself, work hard, even though a lot of the classes seemed pointless, knowing that college would be like the Promised Land of some kind, where I’d be able to take classes I actually care about. But like the message explained in this video sent to me by a reader yesterday (thank you, Brooke! I watched it before bed last night)…. surprise! What we look forward to on the horizon is almost never what we anticipate it to be. So a lot of students struggle with finding a place in the sea of students, the cornucopia of programs, whether to study or go out, etc. I know that feeling out of place in classes and programs is not unusual.

So hopefully, if I decide to take a semester off from school, I’d return knowing myself a bit better. Right now I feel like college often holds me back, which doesn’t sound great, but I really do. I have dreams, goals, projects that have been swept by the wayside. There is so much time I wish I had to dedicate to other things I care about besides getting a good education and preparing myself for the future. My parents understand where I am mentally and career-wise, but they are also very passionate about me taking the time to get an education, even if it seems mundane at the time. And they’re right.

A lot of you were able to tell me your stories, give advice, and offer some moral support. I was following comment updates all day yesterday from my iPhone and was absolutely blown away by those of you that had gone to school despite it feeling “wrong” and having it turn out great for you, ending up building your career around your degree. Others of you went to school because it felt “right” and lived lives that were “supposed” to be right, just realizing in the last few years that you were on the wrong path. Both cases speak so strongly to me. The plan of action I’m taking is one that will allow me to take a hold of what I am passionate about now — while trying to utilize an education to my best advantage.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment, e-mail, tweet, and send supportive text messages. And when I say supportive, I mean all of you. Although not everyone thought that my reasoning or feelings were “right”, you all took the time to offer genuine advice and moral support, which means a lot to me.


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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica { } September 20, 2012 at 8:34 AM

Your inner voice is telling you what you need to do right now – stay true to yourself and things will unfold as they should! {Man I really sound like a fortune cookie right now!}


Presley @ Run Pretty September 20, 2012 at 9:05 AM

At the end of the day, you have to do right by YOU. It sounds like you have a great support system. Shout out to awesome parents! (I have some, too… we’re lucky.) It’s not wasting money to take a break (heck, even if you never go back). Wasting money would be to continue to do something you aren’t sure about. Keep truckin’ away this semester and then do what you gotta do, girl!


[email protected] September 20, 2012 at 9:43 AM

You have a wonderful support system that is guiding you well. You will make the right decision. Good luck. Another personal story – my best friend from high school went to Syracuse as a freshman and struggled tremendously. She ended up coming home (CA) and finishing her degree at UCLA. Is it possible that your college isn’t the right fit? Just another piece to think about.


April September 20, 2012 at 11:45 AM

This seems like a very real possibility. I am not familiar with the geography of New England but did you choose Syracuse because it was closest to home? A semester off (maybe taking community college classes to keep up?) might help you determine where you might want to finish out your last two or three years of college (cough, the University of South Carolina is fantastic)! Or a semester abroad like you mentioned, might be a refreshing change of pace!


Claire @ Keeping Up With Claire September 20, 2012 at 9:59 AM

I just read yesterday’s post, and then this one. I know I’ve told you many times before that you are extremely wise beyond your years, but it’s true. You are so amazingly talented and gifted, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking time off to figure out what you want to do. Who CARES what other people say/think about you when you know you’re doing what’s best for you. That’s all that matters! People will just judge and say things because they are too scared to take such a scary risk in their own lives. I know you’ll do what’s best for you, so keep being amazing and follow your heart pretty girl! <3


christin September 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM

you’re going to do amazing things no matter what my blocky, i love you and im proud of you, and it amazes me everyday how you force me to look so highly up to you when i have to look so far down at you ;)


Caroline September 20, 2012 at 10:47 AM

I think it’s awesome that you have such a great support system. I can relate to this post so much and I think you really just have to find a way to push everyone else out of your head. Forget what you’re “expected” to do or “supposed” to do, just follow your gut.
I’d love to hear about all your plans and dreams, but understand now might not be the time to share. I hope we get to hear all about it eventually : ) Good luck!


Jenna September 20, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Wise beyond your years, my dear!!! I applaud you and am very inspired from your story!! Keep listening to your heart! Spa love


Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness September 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Sounds like a fabulous plan! Don’t ever be afraid to chase after your goals and dreams!!!


Carly @ Snack Therapy September 20, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I just wanted to add my 2 cents:
You KNOW what you want to do. You have specific goals and passions that you want to pursue. This is a sign that your time off would be well-utilized and beneficial. My boyfriend, for instance, left college with his AA last year in order to pursue a career in video editing. This was smart for him: video editing does not require a college degree. He knows the steps he needs to take in order to be successful, and he’s working hard at them.

I, on the other hand, have only a vague idea about what I want to do, but I know I want to be in a corporate office. This requires a college degree. End of story.

If you are considering taking time off because you hate college, things probably won’t go well. But if you’re considering time off because of all of the other things that you absolutely love (which you are!), you will be successful!

Good luck, and I can’t wait to follow your decision-making process : ).


clare @ fittingitallin September 20, 2012 at 12:54 PM

good post, chica.
always here to run things by if you need to. i have these “what do i want to do with my life” convos all the time.


Lauren September 20, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I think it’s great that you’ve decided to stick out this semester. I did the same thing when i was going to school in Maryland. I took a semester, moved back home (but still took online classes to keep up) and tried to get grounded before deciding what I wanted to do.

Keep your head up and stay focused. Life will always unfold just the way its supposed to. :)


Courtney September 20, 2012 at 1:13 PM

You’re being very smart and level headed about this, I’m proud of you! Taking time off from college isn’t a bad thing at all! It helps you figure yourself out and then apply yourself to the area you will thrive in the most. Keep strong, girl!


Paige September 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I just HAVE to comment on this. When I read your post yesterday, I was literally fist pumping in my cubicle. You go girl! It’s so awesome that you have a dream, a plan, a vision – and you aren’t afraid!

At the end of last semester (I had just finished my first year of a Master’s program), I had a breakdown in my advisor’s office because I felt so lost and wasn’t sure if this was what I want to do. She told me, nicely but firmly, that no one is MAKING me go to school. She encouraged me to spend the summer reading about topics I was interested in, working in an area that I thought I would enjoy, and then reevaluate and decide if I wanted to come back in the fall or take a leave of absence while I “find myself.” HOLY SHIT. I was scared. But I did it – I took the whole summer to work at an internship in an area I was very interested in, read TONS of nerdy articles, and finally find my niche. I didn’t end up taking that leave of absence, but it was SO NICE to have someone in a position of authority tell me that it was OKAY to take a break and find yourself.

The most important thing she told me: how do you want to be defined? The longer you spend time doing something, the more your identity becomes tied to it. If you don’t like what you’re doing, and you’re not going to like that you’re identity is so focused on that area, then STOP DOING IT.

You’ll figure it out, girl!!


Emily September 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Your post yesterday was great. I think you’re experiencing something most people go through at some point in their lives. I went through the same thing in college and really regret not taking a semester off. I just felt this pressure to finish school as quickly as possible, and get out into the real world. And now that I’m in the real world, I’m changing career paths! So definitely take the time for yourself and figure out your next steps. In retrospect- it’s 4 months of your life. That’s NOTHIN’!

Whatever you end up doing, you will be great. Your passion for life is so evident, and whatever you do, you’ll kick ass.


Kristin @ My Mission Impossible September 20, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Katelyn, I commend you for [at the very least] giving merit to these feeling you’ve been having. Giving yourself the opportunity to really figure out which path you want to take. I feel the same way in my life right now; however I finished college 10 years ago, and believe or not I felt the same way then as well. Picked a major ONLY because it was time to declare, not because I was passionate about it. And have basically spent my life floating around, having children and struggling to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up”. To say it is overwhelming is an understatement. Self-awareness is a great thing. If you are able to press pause for a little while and figure out what’s next than take full advantage of it because it’s a luxury that doesn’t last forever. You are obviously very smart and talented and I have no doubt that you will be very successful in whatever you decide on… wishing you all the best!


Purely Twins September 20, 2012 at 3:36 PM

sounds like great plan! we are in the middle of changing our careers, so we know what you are dealing with. we have a lot of things we want to do, just trying to sort it all out.


wymberley September 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

I will say what was said to me. “You have plenty of time.” It does not feel like it right now. And in 10 years you will say where did the time go. But you DO have plenty of time. Ultimately your plan is sound, don’t be afraid to jump into an opportunity and don’t always take the safe road either.
Most great grandparents will say life is short…”you have plenty of time.” is the last thing my great grandmother said to me. And in many ways, she was so right.


Mindy Artze September 20, 2012 at 4:29 PM

I just read both of your blog posts… let me say to you that I have NO doubt that whatever you decide, you WILL succeed! You are an amazing young woman on the path to greatness…


jenna k September 20, 2012 at 6:05 PM

i made the decision to take extra time to graduate and take time off before grad school- two things i had never even thought of as options. i understand that you’ve already put a lot of consideration into your plans. i stayed up night after night thinking about mine. all of the assumptions in yesterday’s comments were just killing me, really, because i’ve gone through a similar time, and i know what it’s like to have to fight for my reasoning about it. sometimes you just know what’s right for you. or, in our cases, you know what’s wrong for you, and you know what’s right is just around the corner.
so, obviously this is your personal choice, but i think it’s an outstanding one. in taking extra time to graduate, i was able to slow things down a bit and add a minor that i LOVED. and now i’m struggling in the job department (yes, even WITH a college degree, so that argument is invalid), but what i’m lacking in money, i’m gaining in focus and ambition. we have the rest of our lives to work. why not really take the time to make sure we’ve focused it into being exactly what we want?


Abby @ BackAtSquareZero September 20, 2012 at 6:58 PM

I like the idea of a semester off way better than dropping out. Semester off sounds fabulous. Give yourself time to think, reevaluate what s best for you and decide for there. Still think you are being very brave about all this. Good luck.


Carrie September 20, 2012 at 7:32 PM

“There is much more available to me career-development wise besides just writing blog posts every day.”

Tell us more, very interested.


Joanna September 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I say, take the time off. I rushed through grad school and it really hurt me financially. I should have taken time off to work and live a bit. I would have made money while gaining experience. And, in this job market, I think experience is equally important to schooling.


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