I’m writing this article at the beginning of my fourth year of college. I say fourth year instead of senior year because I’m not graduating this year. In fact, I should have graduated last year, but I didn’t.

I graduated high school in 2012, in the top twenty percent of my class. I’d been accepted to my top choice school that I’d fallen in love with years before. I’d known what I wanted to do with my life since I was in seventh grade and I was on the path to achieving my undergraduate degree in Music Education and Music Performance on two instruments.

I took a gap year to be an exchange student to Belgium and so I didn’t start my freshman year of college until the Fall of 2013, a year after all of my friends from high school. My exchange was amazing and I wouldn’t take it back or change it in any way, but it did put me behind a year. After my sophomore year, I realized that I wasn’t going to be happy as a music teacher and changed my major. After my junior year, I changed my major again. Now, I’m pursuing two Bachelor’s degrees in French and Music Business, as well as two minors in Spanish and Acting.

I always thought that I was going to graduate college in four years or less, start immediately working in a field I loved and go on living my life. But, here I am, beginning my fourth year of college with no clue what I’m going to do after I graduate.

And that’s okay.

It’s okay if you go into college as an Undecided major. It’s okay to change your major if you’re not happy. It’s okay to take a little more time than you wanted to.

College is not a race. Graduating first or at the top of your class only means so much when you leave school. Grades are important, but happiness is more important.

College is a time to find yourself and your passions - what makes you happiest, the people who matter most to you and who you want to be when you graduate. There’s no point in making yourself miserable in pursuing a degree. You shouldn’t choose a school or a degree based on what you’re “best at” or what your parents think you should do, you should do something you love. You should find the people who make you feel important and loved, whether those are classmates, sorority sisters, or sports teams.

There’s an old saying that goes something like “If you choose a career you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” I believe that starts in college. For the first time, you’re on your own, and while that can be extremely scary, it can be very freeing as well. Use this freedom to explore all of your options - classes, clubs, activities. It’s okay if you don’t graduate in four years. I’d rather graduate happy in nine semesters than graduate stressed in seven.