Carlito’s Guide to Taking a Semester Off

When you started college, fresh out of high school, they made you choose a major. But you were 18, and knew nothing about the world; you didn’t know what you wanted to do with the rest of your entire life yet. You had barely even discovered all the genres of internet porn, and the highest proof of alcohol you had tasted was probably somewhere in the 80s.

Now you’re two years in, you’ve learned a thing or two about the world, and you are truly ready to decide what you want to do with your life. You want to change majors, but right now you are a little burned out on having spent two years studying something you don’t enjoy. Before you start in your new major, you need a break; you need a semester off. You need some time to go see the world, sew your wild oats, and leave your mark on this dying planet before the hole in the ozone layer burns it to dust.

The semester off is a huge decision, possibly the biggest decision you will ever make. This is it, your chance to live your life. As the old saying goes, "life ends after your semester off." Let’s face it, right now you’re young, full of life, and able to really live it to the fullest. After your semester off you will choose the major that you really do want to pursue in the lifelong sense, and settle down in the boring routine that is the corporate world. You will probably never again have any fun whatsoever after your semester off, so take the time to really make the right choice. Let’s go through the steps you will need to take to get ready for your big break:

Step 1: What Kind of Bum Will You Be?


First you need to decide what kind of semester off you want to have. Will you be a ski bum in Colorado, a beach bum in California, a casino bum in Vegas, a cape bum in Massachusetts, or possibly just a regular bum in Seattle? For the more pretentious semester off, you could consider hitchhiking across Europe; just keep in mind that you will have no one to talk to when you come back, your friends will seem boring and unsophisticated to you. Whatever you do, don’t join the military, and don’t be a parent’s basement bum in your hometown either, that’s no way to spend your semester off.

All of these are excellent options, and you need to choose the right one for you. Choose one that’s both a fit for your lifestyle, but also one that’s a break from your normal routine. If you hate the cold weather, but already live in California, don’t be a ski bum, but don’t just stay in the beach bum rut either. You should try the casino bum, or possibly just ride the rails across the Midwest. Just make sure to carry a knife if you ride the rails. Never a gun, always a knife.

Step 2: Convincing Your Parents.

The second step is to convince your parents that taking a semester off is the right choice. They are likely to be of the opinion that if you take a semester off, you will never return to school. That’s because your parents are lame, and do things like read statistics, which say that people that take a semester off are very unlikely to finish school. Remind your parents that you are not a statistic, you are a person. And that you are failing all your classes anyway, so what difference does it make?

Step 3: Doing Your Homework.

Great, so now you’ve decided what kind of semester off to take, and your parents are no longer speaking to you. Sounds like you’re all set for your semester off. The next step is to do your research. No matter what type of semester off you take, you are likely to find yourself living in an expensive location, on a very small budget. And you thought that two years of college wasn’t preparing you for anything! Guess you owe your parents that apology after all.

You need to research your chosen location and find out all the ways that the locals get around the high cost of living. In the ski bum towns in Colorado, for example, the resort will provide you with dorm-like employee housing. If you get a job in a restaurant, you can eat for free at work. All you need is a bus pass and a snowboard and life is good. A healthy supply of porn wouldn’t hurt you either; the guy to girl ratio is about 7 to 1 in the mountain towns of the Rockies. No matter where you go, there are ways of getting around the high cost of living that the locals all know. And don’t forget to seek out a job that exploits the incoming tourist money. Bartending is almost always your best option, but there are many other jobs that allow you to skim off the top. As a beach bum, a mobile hot dog cart is a good option. You can reach a ratio of pocketing the money for almost one out of every two hot dogs.*

Step 4: Bring Some Friends.

The last step to your semester off is convincing some friends to throw their lives away with you. You will need some good friends from your hometown with you on your adventure, because in the end you will no doubt realize that no matter where you end up, you are better off opening your own restaurant that sells the type of food you used to eat in your hometown, than going back to school. Or possibly just a pub in the theme of your hometown, people seem to love that. So best of luck with your wing shop on the beach, or your cheese steak stand in the mountains, or your teriyaki hut next to the blackjack tables, and have a great semester off.


* CampusSqueeze.com does not endorse or condone stealing money from your employer; it is simply pointing out factually that it is very possible to do so.

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September 23. 2009 22:36


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A Semester Off « The Knot in the Wood