If you’re reading this, you’re probably in a pretty tough spot. Fall semester starts in just over three months, and you just really can’t see university life living up to your expectations from the comfort of your childhood bedroom.

Online classes can be great – when you want, where you want – but if the thought of returning to school had you dreaming of packed football stadiums, crammed bars and quads laden with lounging students, 2000s movie style, then a virtual experience may disappoint. You don’t want to put your life on pause, but what’s university life without crowds?

As post-secondary institutions begin sharing their plans to move fall semesters partially or wholly online, students entering or returning to school will have to make a choice: go forth and go online, or defer. Here are some things to keep in mind.


  1. Can you even defer, anyway? Before making a decision either way, figure out your options. Check out your university’s website and read up on their deferral policies.


  1. Understand the consequences. Maybe virtual class is really not your thing, but if you take time off, you’ll be losing step with friends and classmates who decide to stay on. And, who knows -  campus activities could be up and running by November, depending on where you go to school. And, are you willing to extend your degree – and perhaps, in doing so, your student rent – another year?


  1. Think about what you will do during your year (or semester) off. While many gap-takers opt to spend time travelling, that’s, uh, not really an option yet. Can you start an e-commerce business? Write a blog? Focus on studying for an upcoming test, like the LSAT or GMAT? Don’t let the break be a break. Stay productive.


  1. While it’s not the ideal time to be job-searching, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Think about industries that are expanding and look there – delivery services, online shopping, or website design (small brick and mortar businesses now need an online presence, fast). In some places, the government is offering funding to unemployed students to help out with agricultural work. Do your research.


  1. Find a happy medium – find an internship. Many companies only hire students returning to school after their work term, anyway – stretch it out and bulk up your resume while you can.


  1. But also, take the time for you. So often, we rush through life without paying attention to what we want and need, in pursuit of what we think we want and need. Can your break be an opportunity to learn about that thing that you’ve always loved, but pushed aside in favour of your business homework? Are you struggling to complete a single pushup? Don’t let your mind – or muscles – stay floppy. Pick up a book, or a weight, or a paintbrush, or that coding tutorial you’ve had bookmarked for the last six months. Now could very well be the time.