Just left school temporarily: Is that bad or good?

hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■□□□□□
It has been a while since the last time I visited this form after completing my CCENT study last November. I have been so busy with school, but today I have decided to put my education on hold for a bit since I have been feeling overwhelmed lately. I was already falling behind, and I did not like how I was not able to grasp what might be important for me to know and understand for my career in the future. So I decided to go back to cert studies to help me cover some of the gaps I was not able to fill with the accelerated 10-week quarter system. I had no time to study for any of the certs I wanted to do with school. But the question here is... am I wrong for leaving school just to catch up with cert books so I can do a whole lot better when I return next fall?

Comments

  • darkerzdarkerz Member Posts: 431 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I'm just going to say I'm glad I didn't stop temporarily. Once you leave the environment, it's hard to get back into it.

    I would advise against it.
    :twisted:
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I see what you are saying, but maybe I should have initially included that I'm currently living off campus with a bunch of roommates who are still at the same school that I left. I was only having trouble keeping up with the technical courses in my major. I still have friends from my major that I can keep in touch with, but I just needed to go at my own pace. I already left, and I had to do it soon so I can be eligible for my partial refund. The longer I wait, I will lose that money, and I might not even pass one or two of my classes by the end of the quarter. I'm pretty much already in the environment despite my departure. I will be returning in September 2011. Are you suggesting this is too long? I wasn't planning on taking summer classes anyway.
  • PristonPriston Member Posts: 999 ■■■■□□□□□□
    You couldn't have kept atleast one class and pulled your grade up in that along with studying for certs? I've seen people that take on too much of a work load while in school and end up dropping 1 or 2 classes, but dropping all of them seems rather silly.
    A.A.S. in Networking Technologies
    A+, Network+, CCNA
  • NetworkingStudentNetworkingStudent Member Posts: 1,400 ■■■■■■■■□□
    darkerz wrote: »
    I'm just going to say I'm glad I didn't stop temporarily. Once you leave the environment, it's hard to get back into it.

    I would advise against it.

    +1
    After you leave it’s a lot hard to go back. Also, the older you get the harder it is to go back to school. Certifications come and go, but an education lasts a lifetime.
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I don't think any of you are understanding what's happening here. Let me clarify more why I left.

    I was taking three technical courses (computer-related) in my major, and each of them has a weekly intensive laboratory session that will be evaluated and graded as well. For the last three weeks, I have been working in the labs 7 days a week, and I was still trouble keeping up with the pace since I realized I lack fundamental knowledge in the course. I wasn't like everyone else who picked up the stuff easily. I can't blame my hearing loss for being the reason, but who knows.

    I even find it embarrassing that I was behind in a course that is directly related to my CCENT/CCNA study. They discussed the STP algorithm from the ICND2 part first for the first few weeks then went back to the ICND1 stuff and talk about the basic routing table and protocols. I was not happy to learn that the course was not as easy as I assumed since I was told they would be covering most of the ICND1 stuff.

    Also my other course was teaching wireless technology, and I was not very familiar with the subject, even though Network+ and ICND1 talked a little about it, but what I learned was more in depth than that. Not only I don't know the subject, but I was not familiar with Cisco Aironet that they used in the lab despite the IOS command line being similar. It was the lab instructions given to me written by the department that was vague or flawed, and I tried to follow it and make thing works, but it didn't. The department has assumed that the lab equipments (IBM Thinkpad with Cisco Aironet a/b/g wireless card installed) we worked with were able to capture wireless frames, and I was like...no it couldn't. But again, who can I prove wrong when I'm clueless about the subject.

    So I figured if I leave school now to use the time to pick up the basic stuff from my cert studies and return to school prepared next time, so I can easily detect the flaws in the lab instructions before I go on with my activity, and correct any mistakes that the professor may make in class. Don't hate me but I love making corrections. I would hate to risk failing class this quarter and waste my tuition money. I could use that money for my cert tests and try better next time. The courses that I was having trouble in are prerequisites for advanced courses that I have to take later on. I must show no weaknesses when I start the advanced track stuff. So, I am going to quit talking if you guys continue to disagree with me, but you guys are right that education are worth more than certs. That's why I'm being stubborn not to have bad permanent grades on my transcript. I love my major, and I want to do well in it rather than getting through it and not understanding anything.
  • earweedearweed Member Posts: 5,192 ■■■■■■■■■□
    Though others may disagree you are probably right to slow down a little to get yourself back together. Don't put off the studying though. If you take a break from learning then it's hard to get back in.
    Do what you have to do but go back in the fall and kick some serious [email protected]@!
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • shecoolshecool Member Posts: 33 ■■□□□□□□□□
    It doesn't matter if you left, just make sure you get back on it again. I have been tempted to take a yr off school too (well, it was actually for a sweet job opp), but I realized it would be better just to get it out of the way. Even so, when I'm in school I always feel forever behind, but still manage to pull through.

    My advice to you:Take at least one course, if possible. That way, when you go back it's not a complete shock to the system and in addition, you'll be able to spare yourself some stress when you do go back. Heck, even during your break consider a part-time (IT) position if you can find one :).

    My last piece of advice: Don't let taking a break mean quitting. There was a point I was so overwhelmed I felt like completely switching programs, but after I got over the hump, I gained a major appreciation for my schooling, field, and what not.

    I guess the key is.. If you take a break, don't let it be forever. As well, don't let it be unproductive :)
    Up Next: CCDA, CCDP
  • techlady007techlady007 Member Posts: 24 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Stay in school because we all know that a degree never loses its value. If you can work on your bachelors after your associates please do so !!! In my area it seems like everyone would rather an employee with a bachelors due to HR requirements. I feel this is going to be the norm in the next few years to come.
  • okplayaokplaya Member Posts: 199
    I have to agree with everyone else here. You claim that certifications will help you understand the material, but you contradict that by saying your CCENT did nothing to help you. Certifications are good, but they do expire. A college degree has no expiration date.
  • over9000over9000 Member Posts: 30 ■■□□□□□□□□
    I understand your situation because I actually left school for a semester for the same reasons you did. In hindsight, it's better to avoid falling too behind to recover by asking for help from classmates, TAs, or speaking with your professors about the material the moment you feel like it's getting out of control.

    Make sure you're actually addressing not understanding the material, cert studies can help, but sometimes you need a lot more than that to really understand your courses. Seek out other books/libraries, teachers, etc. to get the right material to understand what you're lacking so the same issue doesn't happen in the fall.

    Also make sure you go back to school in September though because it becomes exceptionally hard to go back if you take too much time off. Also, I'm not knocking anyone for not having a college degree, but a degree + certs opens up a lot more doors than just the certs alone. I dabbled around with the job market a bit when I left to see what's out there, and to try and get some experience while I was waiting for the fall semester, but I never really got the same opportunities to even break into IT until I finished my degree. The competition's really fierce out there so do whatever you can to have some advantage.

    Leaving school to recoup and get back on track's no big deal just make sure it's only a temporary thing. icon_wink.gif
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■□□□□□
    @ okplaya: I didn't make a contradiction at all. I made it clear that the professor was covering some stuff from the ICND2 that I haven't gotten a chance to crack open after completing my ICND1 exam. I abandoned my CCNA track during the entire winter quarter trying to focus on school works. When she was reviewing subnetting, I was one of the few students who was able to answer her questions quickly and easily. Most of them had to review them after class. I won't be surprised if none of them know what VLSM is, and I would be able to answer that, but the teacher doesn't like it when I talk about things that goes beyond what we should know up to this point.


    This spring quarter, I was only taking 14 credits, and the 12 credits alone is already a lot of work. It was pretty overwhelming, especially when it's my first time taking three courses with labs (4 credits each). I tried asking for help but the professors and the TAs were helpless. One of my professors has admitted that she hasn't taught undergraduates for about 5 years. She has been teaching grad students during those years. She also admitted that she has not been in the network lab room for 5 years as well. She has a Ph.D, but considering the fact that she did not keep up to date with the lab equipments in the room. She gets irritated when I asked questions, so I was assuming that she expected me to work independently just as her grad students. So, I figured it's pointless to fail the course this quarter and leave temporarily to get started with my ICND2 study, and become more prepared when I come back next fall. I'm only 22.

    I learned my mistake, and I figured I have to take less lab courses per quarter when I return next fall. Right now I'm only starting my early summer vacation. icon_wink.gif By the way, do me a favor, if you actually have at least a post-secondary degree, then please add it to your cert list, so I know you're actually speaking from your own experience.
  • rfult001rfult001 Member Posts: 407
    I started college in 1999. In 2001, I decided to take a couple semester's off to work and do other things...I didn't get back to school until 2006. I haven't taken more than a semester off since, even if I only took one class. I am completing my Masters this term.

    It isn't just the few of us here saying it, it is really that difficult to get yourself motivated to get back to school once you leave especially if you start working full-time or start a family.

    If you are having a hard time keeping up with the course load take fewer classes, if it is one class bogging you down seek assistance, but you will do yourself a huge disservice if you take too long of a break.
  • videguyvideguy Member Posts: 29 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Taking time off from school can be very dangerous. I took a semester off in 1985 and am just not finishing my degree. It's always easy to find a reason not to start back.
    Certifications are great, but a degree will open many more doors than any certification will. It sounds like you may have been trying to accomplish too much at once, if you were trying to pass certification exams and be in school. You probably need to concentrate on school and get the certs after you finish or maybe over the summer. Maybe taking 3 technical classes was too much, could you take maybe 1 or 2 and take other electives, this may make it easier for you too handle.
    Just my .02.
    Bachelors of Science in Information Technology - Database Administration Concentration
    Summa Cum Laude - April 2011







    The only difference between brilliance and stupidity is that brilliance has limits.
  • TurgonTurgon Banned Posts: 6,313
    It has been a while since the last time I visited this form after completing my CCENT study last November. I have been so busy with school, but today I have decided to put my education on hold for a bit since I have been feeling overwhelmed lately. I was already falling behind, and I did not like how I was not able to grasp what might be important for me to know and understand for my career in the future. So I decided to go back to cert studies to help me cover some of the gaps I was not able to fill with the accelerated 10-week quarter system. I had no time to study for any of the certs I wanted to do with school. But the question here is... am I wrong for leaving school just to catch up with cert books so I can do a whole lot better when I return next fall?

    Take a gap and regroup. Then return to college. There is nothing worse than falling behind on a demanding degree course. This happened to me back in 1994 and I got into a rut. Rather than drop out I redoubled my efforts but given I was behind it took six months of hard work to turn things around and get up to standard. But you require real determination to stick it out and do that and I don't think you feel that way at this time.

    So take a gap and then return. During the gap you really need to work hard on improving the areas that are giving you trouble and honestly I dont think certification tracks are the way to go there. It's academic prep you need. You need to look closely at the subjects you are struggling with and then spend daily time with the foundation course books. Treat it as a pre-med course if you like. With three months solid reading of the foundation reading under your belt on algorithms and what have you I think you will be best place to return to your studies. You probably need to read three books cover to cover several times and really think over the principles until you understand them better, and you can do this without the pressure of attending class, keeping up and having to hand in work that will be graded.
  • N2ITN2IT Inactive Imported Users Posts: 7,483
    I took a semester off and it didn't effect me. Keep in mine these are conventional semesters, 16 weeks. I felt renewed and refreshed, I think it depends on who you are.

    If you are a self starter and ambitious, you should have no problem jumping back in.

    With all that being said, once the responsibilities come flowing in, children, work, stressful situations, relationships, etc it will be very hard to get back. So just keep those pieces in mind and you should be fine.

    Good luck!
  • uhtrinityuhtrinity Member Posts: 138
    I'm taking a 3 month term break from WGU, mostly because I need to save up for another 6 months tuition and I have no need to finish soon. Doesn't mean I can't keep working at a relaxed pace. Was surprised when the term break counselor recommended I print out all the COS's (which I had already done).
    Technology Coordinator, Computer Lab Instructor, Network Admin
    BS IT Network Administration AAS Electronics / Laser Electro Optics
  • okplayaokplaya Member Posts: 199
    By the way, do me a favor, if you actually have at least a post-secondary degree, then please add it to your cert list, so I know you're actually speaking from your own experience.


    I am speaking from experience. I have a BS in IT. I went straight through, year-round, and it took me 3 1/2 years. I graduated summa cum laude. I know firsthand the challenge, but it's all worth it at the end.
  • erpadminerpadmin Member Posts: 4,165
    The best advice I can give to anyone who might be falling behind---USE OFFICE HOURS. If I had done that....there would have been a better chance that I would have graduated with a BS already. When you're falling behind, that's what you have to do.

    If you just take time off without having a plan, it makes it very hard to continue IF you do go back. This I know from experience.

    To the OP, the fact that you have roommates that is also in your same major means that you guys are also doing other activities that aren't school-related. Nothing wrong with that, but you will have to work on your focus and time-management skills to ensure you get that degree. Hopefully the time off will give you a better focus.

    Trust me, you don't want to be non-degreed working in IT. You don't need a degree to get a help desk job, but you will need one to advanced into some sort of senior-level position. (Especially in Jersey......but that applies to anywhere.)
  • shednikshednik Member Posts: 2,005
    Are you currently working in the field?

    I don't know you or your current situation but I can say this, it's only going to get harder as time goes on. So you're going to take off school until this September, and you said you want to study for certs in the mean time?

    Unless you are working in the field already I really don't see the value in this, I earned my N+ & A+ during college only because they were part of my courses. When I started working my last year of college I got my CCNA to help move me over to the network side of things.

    Like I said I don't know your situation but if you're having trouble with your classes are you making it a priority over social activities? I know I didn't do that all the time when I was doing my undergrad but I never let it cause my grades to slip. So I would question if you're making it a priority, what type of program are you in with that much lab time? Have you asked your room mates for help?

    I finished my undergrad working full time, with 15 credit hours, and a new born. It's not easy, it's definitely not fun, but in the end it was all worth it. Take your break if you need to but I really question the benefit of studying for certs instead of taking classes at all if you not working in the industry. I would look for some courses listed at pre-requisites for the classes you have to take and see if the foundation knowledge from them would help. I know plenty of people who tried what you are doing and really regret it.

    I wanted to add
    f. So, I am going to quit talking if you guys continue to disagree with me, but you guys are right that education are worth more than certs. That's why I'm being stubborn not to have bad permanent grades on my transcript. I love my major, and I want to do well in it rather than getting through it and not understanding anything.

    The people who are disagreeing with you are people who are already in the industry and have seen it first hand either personally or within their peers. If you wanted advice and post it on a forum expect to have people disagree with you, we're not trying to put you down we're trying to help.

    joe
  • shednikshednik Member Posts: 2,005
    I looked at your linkedin profile.

    You are in an amazing school right now that will give you an outstanding education, I wouldn't let that possibly slip away at any cost.

    If you need to take fewer credits a semester, and you'll need to treat the classes like a full time job. I think if you are able to make yourself put in the time, and you use the resources available to you that things will turn up.
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■□□□□□
    shednik wrote: »
    Unless you are working in the field already I really don't see the value in this, I earned my N+ & A+ during college only because they were part of my courses. When I started working my last year of college I got my CCNA to help move me over to the network side of things.

    Joe, as you can see in my LinkedIn profile, I haven't worked in the computer industry, and I'll not be working in the field until I land a co-op (it's what we called internships at my school). I hope to land one next summer in 2012 after I complete my co-op pre-requisites. Tell me about my school! I dunno if I'm working harder than the average students from the average colleges.

    Because we are required to complete three co-ops to get our degree, I felt that I had to pad up my resume with a couple more non-dumpable certs to look good for prospective employers. I'm a double minority, and there are still discriminations going on out there. I can't just pretend that I can get a job just as convenience as a non-minority. I have to really distinguish myself from the rest of my competitors out there. I had no other way to improve but to read my cert books and do some labs that are directly relevant to the courses I withdrew this quarter. So I figure why not pick up a cert or two in the meantime. The professors did not require the textbooks, and I known students who passed those courses without the required textbooks. I always check the content of the textbooks at the Institute's bookstore before I start buying books for classes. I never waste my money on textbooks that I don't believe will be helpful.

    What do you suggest me to do in the meantime rather than picking up a few certs? Remember, I can't go on a co-op without completing the pre-requisites. By the way, I don't really have a social life here but I have been with my girlfriend for almost a year and a half. I'm not too crazy about parties or friends, but I was involved with a club. School has always been my priority. I'm being protective of my cumulative GPA and my success in school. I already knew taking a leave of absence would not count against my GPA.
    shednik wrote: »
    The people who are disagreeing with you are people who are already in the industry and have seen it first hand either personally or within their peers. If you wanted advice and post it on a forum expect to have people disagree with you, we're not trying to put you down we're trying to help.
    joe

    Thanks for reminding me, Joe. I was just a little irritated that no one was on my side at first, and most of them were against me, and I thought it's because they were not aware of my overall situation here, but some of them continues to ignore some of the things I already mentioned why I was making such decisions and claimed that I was probably making a bad decision regardless. All I was asking is to put yourself in my shoes and ask yourself what you would have done. Now that some of you are on my sides, I really do appreciate the feedback. Joe, they are not wrong to disagree with me at all, but it's just one of my many rants.


    I just want to point out that I am currently unemployed and I ain't got no kids. My roommates are only students at the school I attended, but none of them are in my major. I was just stating that I have friends that are in my major that I can share my concern with, but they aren't as good as I thought. Most of them either failed and repeated the courses or went on a co-op as a break from school. I literally live 10 minutes away from campus, and I won't be moving from here until I graduate. So I'm already in the academic environment, so that way I can keep myself focus and motivated and be prepared to go back in the fall.
  • shecoolshecool Member Posts: 33 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Hiddenknight, I thought I'd post another reply since you have given more insight to your situation.

    First, let me say I have kind of pushed my degree from 4.5yrs to 5yrs. I'm done my 4th yr now, next year is my last. Why I did this wasn't for the same reasons as you, my program is actually between two schools (In Canada we have colleges that give diplomas, and Universities that give degrees; I'm in a program which allows me to earn both). The organization was kind of bad, so I decided to switch some things around. This effectively gave me a semester off; but I combined it with co-op. So, I basically turned a 4-mo position to an 8-mo.

    Also, in terms of co-op.. My first 2 co-op jobs I didn't have any certs. I did have academic awards though, but I am not sure how much those mattered. For my final work term now I had my CCNA, but I don't think they cared too much (Government doesn't seem to care about certs).

    I'm not sure how your school is for finding co-op positions or what not, but like I said, I didn't need any certs for my first 2 co-ops. Also, I would say I am a minority too; coupled with the fact I am a girl (I am the first female in my dept), so that didn't mean much either. In IT I don't think there is a huge problem with being a minority, when I call other NOCs and at my current position and other positions, I've never seen a non-diverse team.

    During your time off, like I said, look into certs, maybe take 1 course, and in addition, consider looking for some IT positions. Maybe even volunteer ones? Experience definitely helps with getting the first co-op.
    Up Next: CCDA, CCDP
  • hiddenknight821hiddenknight821 Member Posts: 1,209 ■■■■■□□□□□
    shecool wrote: »
    Also, in terms of co-op.. My first 2 co-op jobs I didn't have any certs. I did have academic awards though, but I am not sure how much those mattered. For my final work term now I had my CCNA, but I don't think they cared too much (Government doesn't seem to care about certs).

    I'm not sure how your school is for finding co-op positions or what not, but like I said, I didn't need any certs for my first 2 co-ops. Also, I would say I am a minority too; coupled with the fact I am a girl (I am the first female in my dept), so that didn't mean much either. In IT I don't think there is a huge problem with being a minority, when I call other NOCs and at my current position and other positions, I've never seen a non-diverse team.

    My school requires us to find a paid co-ops. I will have you know that I'm hard-of-hearing (and yes, I'm actually revealing this for the first time here on TE), and I communicate effectively with others using American Sign Language, reading lips, and slow and clear speech, and writing. I can hear a little depending on the background noise in the surrounding. Believe me, it's really frustrating for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to find jobs out there, especially when employers are afraid to deal with us, because of we require some special accommodations that they may cannot afford. They do not want to say the wrong thing then get sued because of the ADA laws. Only ignorant employers would make some stupid assumptions saying that we would be too expensive to work for them. Really... we are not that bad.

    Another thing I should add is that my interim security clearance has been denied by DoD last summer when I was suppose to work as an intern, and I still have not heard any update whether my full clearance is good to go or not. I think the investigation was put on hold for some reasons. Now I fear that all doors in the public sector may have been closed for me.

    So, there are very few opportunities for me out there, and now you can see how frustrated I am with getting behind in school, and I have a 3.45 cumulative GPA. I cannot allow my GPA to go down regardless of the numbers of withdrawals I may have on my transcript. I'm not perfect, but now I hope you can see why I am chasing after some certs regardless if the employers care or don't care. Eventually, one of them would find my certs valuable. I do not plan on taking summer class since I do not have the money for the summer classes but possibly for the next school year. Part-time tuition cost is actually a waste of money compares to being a full-time student.
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