How to Enjoy Your Summer

How to Enjoy Your Summer

The freeing feeling that comes with finishing your last final… IT’S SUMMER TIME! You get all excited and now finally have time to catch up with old laundry, cleaning and binge watching that show that has been on your list all school year. But then it hits you, what else can you do for fun and explore? We have curated a list of fun things that you can do this summer!

Find a Park: Find your local beach/park (or maybe plan a road trip!) and enjoy the outdoors. 

2023 Southern California Events and Festivals Fairs: Here are their dates and where they will be this summer/incoming fall. We can smell the turkey legs and fried-everything already. 

If you’re still unsure, here is an extensive list of other fun ideas!

25 Best Things to Do in California (2023):  Still unsure? Here is a miscellaneous list of what to do this summer, find one that best fits you. 

Remember, you do not need to go all out to enjoy your summer. Something as simple as packing up a quick snack and sitting outside can help you re-energize by taking in that Vitamin C! Additionally, it is IMPORTANT to take a break to recharge from the school year. We know you worked your butt off and to prevent burn out, remember to take a deep breath and relax. 

Let’s Go wishes you a safe and fun summer!


Gap Year & Leave of Absence

Gap Year & Leave of Absence

If for whatever reason, attending school is not a viable option at the moment, you may consider taking a gap year or leave of absence. This page covers the basics of what a gap year and/or leave of absence are. Please read more below.

Gap Year vs Leave of Absence The Daily Iowan | Point/Counterpoint | Should students take a gap year?

A gap year is defined as taking a break before starting college, whereas a leave of absence is taking a break already in the middle of your college career. If you are an incoming freshman, you will consider taking a gap year. If you are an upperclassman, you will consider taking a leave of absence.

Gap Year Overview 

If you are an incoming freshman but may need to take a break before starting college, you may consider a gap year.

To start off, consider whether or not you have been admitted into a college yet. If you have not been admitted into a college, you will have to go through the entire application process as a freshman for whatever you’d like to start school.

If you have been admitted into a college, you may be able to defer your acceptance for a later term; this means you can start school later than originally applied to. Be aware that not all colleges (especially larger or more competitive schools) offer the option to defer. If they do not offer a deferment process, you will need to completely reapply or choose to go to a school with deferment. Note that because community colleges have open-enrollment policies, you can more flexibly choose your starting term. CSU and UC schools vary internally on deferment; please check your deferment options with your prospective school’s Admissions or Registrar office.

It is highly recommended that you secure your plans before taking your break. Make sure you know that you’ll come back to school or else you risk putting school off for longer than intended. Again, we at Let’s Go to College CA strongly encourage you stay in school, even if only for a class or two.

Gap Year Pros and Cons


  • You get a break from the stress of school
  • You can explore passion and interestsIs Taking a Gap Year a Good Idea? - Marks Education College Counseling


  • You will have trouble finding a meaningful and well-paying job
  • You will not receive school financial aid while you are out of school
  • It can be very difficult to return to school

Having extra time off may give you the ability to work, but you will be missing out on any potential financial aid (grants, scholarships, subsidized loans, etc) that you get as a student. This also forces you to examine your financial situation: can you live with your parents? What bills will you be acquiring? Will you find a well-paying job?

Colleges usually ask for a valid reason to defer your acceptance, they may ask what your intermediate plan is, requiring you to plan ahead. You may be able to take the time to work in a field you’re interested in to hone in and your passions! That said, consider whether you trust yourself to continue your academic momentum. When you come back to school, you may no longer want to be in an educational setting.

Very important: If you are transferring from a 2-year college to a 4-year college you cannot take a gap year because you will lose state financial aid. If you applied and got accepted you need to make sure that you enroll in the term you were accepted or else you jeopardize your complete financial aid package.

Leave of Absence Overview

If you are already in college but need a break, you may consider taking a leave of absence. Simply put, you tell your college that you will not be attending for a certain amount a time– ranging anywhere from a term (semester or quarter), all the way to a year. Please note that Let’s Go to College CA strongly encourages you to stay in school, even if part-time; our economic situation will make it difficult to find employment and you risk losing your academic momentum.

Depending on your college, you may be required to provide a reason for your leave. Because of community colleges open-enrollment policies, however, you will have more flexibility as a student there. At a CSU and UC, the leave of absence process may be a little more lengthy. Please check your Leave options with your respective school’s Registrar office.

Leave of Absence Pros and Cons

ProsIs online school hurting your mental health? You aren't alone - The Beacon

  • You get a break from the stress of school
  • You can explore passion and interests
  • You have a guaranteed position when you get back to school
  • You can define how long you want your break to be


  • You will have trouble finding a meaningful and well-paying job
  • You will not receive school financial aid
  • You might not want to return to school

Nevertheless, there are a few things to expect from all college systems (CC, CSU, UC). If you are a recipient of financial aid, you will be expected to return the money you would’ve used during your time at school. If the financial aid has not been disbursed, you simply will not receive it during the time that you’re out of school.

This urges you to plan for your financial security. You should guarantee you can afford your costs. On top of that, you must have a secure place to live. Similar to deferment, you must also know yourself well enough to believe you will not lose your academic momentum. After you’re out of school, can you guarantee you will want to return? Your time off can be used for a paid internship or a job in an interesting sector that will more clearly define your future aspirations.

If you need additional support returning back to college after taking a gap year, please fill out out Interest Form to meet with a Comeback Navigator who will assist you in your transition. 

What is Burnout?

What is Burnout?

According to Help Guide, burnout is “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.” This can happen in any setting: personal life and obligations, work, and especially school. With having to deal with all the changes due to the pandemic, it is no surprise that many of us have checked out long ago. The lack of physical interaction with family and friends, the change between in-person to virtual work/ school, and the losses of family and loved ones to the pandemic have all left us emotionally vulnerable. On top of this, workplaces and academia are still expecting the same, if not, better results from us which makes dealing with personal issues even harder.

Symptoms of burnout include: 

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time.
  • Lowered immunity, frequent illnesses
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

If you recognize any of these symptoms, you might be facing burnout. As things begin to reopen in California, you might feel rushed to return “back to normal” however, it is ok to still be processing everything that has happened this past year. We are all experiencing this pandemic in a variety of ways and you should not feel rushed into being okay with everything that has happened. For this reason, we advise you to also take a break this summer from academia if that is something you need. 

Other ways to confront burnout include:

  • Setting boundaries: You don’t have to say yes to everything you are asked to do! Value your needs first. 
  • Use your time off: Use your pay time off, you earned it! In addition, take a break during the summer! This is the time to recharge and prepare for the upcoming semester. 
  • Indulge in things you enjoy: Sometimes we feel guilty for “wasting time” on things we enjoy, but there is no waste in doing something that helps/ betters you! You are investing in your well-being and that is valuable.  

These are just three tips to avoid burnout but the most important thing is recognizing it is happening. By recognizing it, you are then able to pace yourself and schedule yourself back on track! Burnout is normal and we all experience it, you deserve a break. We all do. 

Source: HelpGuide – Burnout Prevention and Treatment

Find Services to Support Your Mental Health

Find Services to Support Your Mental Health

By: Let’s Go Team

An important factor in mental health is knowing what help you need and where you can find it. During this time of uncertainty, you might find yourself anxious, overwhelmed, and/or discouraged. They are all valid feelings. If these feelings continue for a long period of time, you might find some security in taking an online mental health assessment. By taking a mental health screening/ assessment, you are opening yourself to resources and support that will help you throughout your college career and after. 

 Mental health screenings are short quizzes that tally up your score and give you a quick analysis of what you might be feeling and if they are symptoms of a mental health condition. Below are some sites that do free online screenings: 

  • Mental Health America: features online mental screening tests in English and Spanish regarding anxiety, depression, postpartum depression, psychosis, eating disorders, and PTSD.
  • American Mental Wellness: a hub of different screening tests where you can take multiple screenings from different medical sites regarding depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, abuse/dating violence/ domestic violence, and more.

Once you complete the screenings, both sites provide information regarding where to find resources corresponding to your results. Whether you find out you have symptoms of a condition or not, therapy is something students, especially first-generation students can partake in and take advantage of. 

  • CCC Health & Wellness Program:  contains mental health resources for students attending community college, all across California, includes different articles, podcasts, and programs all accessible to students attending a CC
    • Your College’s Wellness Center: Your college possibly offers mental health services at your Student Health/Wellness Center. Some colleges offer up to three sessions. Take advantage of them, their services are included in the tuition and fees you already pay for!  

There are several resources out there to support your needs and you are worthy of all of them! Any step you take towards the betterment of your mental health is a big win for yourself, your mind and body, and those who care for you. We are ready to support you. 


Basic Needs: Student Navigator Network

Basic Needs: Student Navigator Network

Basic Needs: Student Navigator Network 

The Student Navigator Network (SNN) was a system designed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that aimed to assist students with resources to pursue higher education. The Student Navigator program is largely run by Rise, a non-profit that addresses the challenges students face at college. Rise helps students apply for emergency financial assistance, find community support systems, learn their public health benefits and receive updates on policies, programs, and resources. The Student Navigator Network largely serves college students in higher education either at trade school or at community colleges in Los Angeles County. However, the LA cohort-based out of USC is willing to connect all California’s college students to resources. Resources include financial, academic, and personal assistance. This aims to help bridge the gap between students and the higher education system by offering resources needed to assist these institutions.  

The Student Navigator Network has served over 7,000 students. They helped students receive at least $897,875 in financial assistance. The Student Navigator Network works on a three-tier strategy at a micro, mezzo, and macro level. The micro-level aims to work with individual students in the form of outreach and advocacy. Partners aim to provide students with emotional support, encouragement and help students create a timeline to accomplish their goals. The mezzo scale aims to have practitioners work with institutions and communities to make a difference in students’ lives like identifying and improving campus resources and collaborating with community and government programs. The marco level has practitioners work on large-scale advocacy programs on all government levels to address the inequity in public education institutions. 

For more information regarding the SNN and to help you find emergency financial aid, apply for public benefits, and connect with local resources visit this link: Our Student Navigator Network

If you are a student seeking to start your own Student Navigator Network on your campus submit this interest form: Student Navigator Network Form

The Student Navigator Network is an excellent opportunity for students who are looking for resources to guide them throughout their college experience. The Student Navigator Network is met to aid and assist students throughout their college journey. The hope is that this program can help diminish the stigma students feel when asking for help and bridge the gap of inequity in the higher education system.