To the kids not graduating on time,
Let's not sugar coat it-- college is tough. Take away all of the personal issues that you'll inevitably have to deal with along the way, the amount of classes, homework, and work to support yourself financially can be a big deal. And sometimes, no matter how hard you try, that four years that it's supposed to take to graduate with an undergraduate degree just isn't long enough. But that's okay, and you need to know that it's okay.
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When I first came to the realization that I wasn’t going to be graduating on time, I was completely devastated. I cried for a long time, told myself that I was a failure because my high school friends were graduating a semester or even a year early while I’d be stuck in college for yet another year. How did I end up like one of those college students I swore my senior year I'd never become?
It took me a really long time to get past those feelings and finally realize that this wasn’t my fault. There really isn’t anything that I can do about it at this point. I do not have access to a time machine, nor can I just walk into the Dean’s office and ask them to miraculously give me a degree without completing all of the requirements. It’s just not going to happen, and that fact has to be accepted in order for us all to move on.
Unfortunately, one of the most important things that most people learn while transitioning from their high school years to their college years is that not everything happens just how you expect or plan for them to happen. The high school senior version of myself assumed that by year four of my college career, I'd be getting ready to get my diploma in a completely different major than the one I'm in now, at a completely different school that I'm attending now, and looking for a career in the real world. But that's not what happened.
Shit happens, and we have to deal with that. We go through the horrible moments of transferring schools and trying to find the right one where you truly fit in, the family traumatic events that are sure to happen throughout life but of course choose while you were in college to hit, and the possibility of it taking an extra try to pass a couple of your classes.
Things happen, and they're not always in your control. The lucky bunch of kids who are forced to take an extra semester or year to complete their degree just learned that life lesson sooner than the majority of other college students.But that doesn't mean that we're failures, or we're stupid, or we're not good enough compared to those who graduated in four years or less. It doesn't make them any better, it just makes them luckier in the aspect that they didn't go through something that prevented them from reaching that expected graduation date. Just because you're not going to be crossing that stage in that ugly cap and gown to grab your diploma at the same time as everyone else you went to high school with four years ago, doesn't mean that they're any better than you.
Don't ever let anyone make you feel bad for not graduating on time. The important thing to focus on is that you will get your degree, and nothing is going to stop you from doing that. It doesn't matter how long it takes for you to get that degree. What matters is that you did it. This, and only this is what you need to focus on for the remainder of your college career.
Here's something I always tell myself whenever I get upset about not graduating on time: It took Emma Watson five years to graduate from Brown University. Granted, she was filming Harry Potter during some of that time, but still.
A Girl Not Graduating On Time.