Taking a Year Off of College


Joanne E. Wilson is an attorney located in Central Florida. Currently, Ms. Wilson works as a tutor, helping first time bar exam takers, re-takers of the bar exam, current law students, and pre-law students. Ms. Wilson is also a freelance blogger. In addition to writing for others blogs, she runs her own blogs, BarExamSuperhero.com and LawSchoolSuperhero.com. BarExamSuperhero.com was recently listed on the ABA Blawg Directory. She also currently serves as the Social Director for the Central Florida Gay and Lesbian Law Association. Ms. Wilson recently spoke at the “Out of the Closet And In Your Office: Representing LGBT Clients 2013″ conference. Her presentation was “Bullying 101.” She also is the Race Ambassador and Editor for the Women’s Running Community.


Ms. Wilson received her Juris Doctor cum laude from Florida A & M University College of Law, Orlando, Florida, in 2012 and a Bachelor of Arts in Writing from The University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida, in 2007. While in law school, Ms. Wilson served as President of the Women’s Law Caucus (2011-2012) and Vice President of the FAMU Chapter of the American Association of Justice (2012). She served as a member of the Advocacy Board and as a Student Representative of the Central Florida Association For Women Lawyers. She worked as a volunteer for the State Attorney’s Office of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, served as an extern under Judge Jenifer Davis in the Ninth Judicial Circuit, and interned with Jaisen Stango.


Ms. Wilson is licensed to practice in Florida as a member of The Florida Bar.

Often times you hear about how someone took time off of college to go explore. For some, they take time off to go abroad, to learn new cultures, and have new experiences. But for others, it can be a time where they decide if they want to continue down the path they are on.


Taking time away can work both to your benefit as well as your detriment. Often, people take off time from school and never return, resulting in loan repayment coming around but there’s no piece of paper to show for it. But if you are smart and limit yourself in taking time away, you can open up new doors for the future. New experiences, new people, and new opportunities might end up pointing you down a better road. For me, I took a year off between my sophomore and junior years in order to work. As a result, I discovered that I was much happier in a different state and found a school that offered more of the classes that I wanted.


If you decide to take time off from school, there are a few things you must do.


First, be sure to discuss your plans with friends and family. It is not wise to spring on your loved ones that you are leaving college. By not keeping them informed, you could cause conflict and even lose them.


Second, be sure to contact your school to find out what the process is for taking time off. Some schools require you to fill paperwork. Fill any appropriate documents as soon as possible. This way you are not being charged for tuition and you aren’t racking up any new loans.  Also, make sure you understand what is required for you to return to that school. This will eliminate issues at the end of your leave.


Third, have a plan in place. Make sure you have a reason and a goal for the time you are away from school. This will help you stay on track.


Fourth, don’t be afraid. This is a time to explore and try new things. Don’t squander that precious time.  So many people end up regretting holding back during college. Instead, embrace the unknown.


And lastly, establish a date when you will go back to school. This will help you appreciate the time you have but give you a reason to return when that date comes.


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