I admit, it took me a while to accept the fact that I wasn't going to graduate with my class. The realization was over a year ago when my advisor told me my estimated date of when I would be a graduate. At first, I thought she miscalculated how many classes I had left, unfortunately having to change majors several times delayed the pre-requisite classes that I had to take in order to be in the program for my major. However, it wasn't fully unfortunate due to finally being content and sure on my decision and coming to the conclusion that it's okay to graduate late.
I'm assuming the misconception of not graduating with your belonging class makes us automatically believe that you're a failure. I had that thought imprinted in my head for weeks when I realized I wasn't going to graduate in the appropriate four-year time frame. I was always the type of student in high school with straight A's and always on schedule or on top of things especially when it concerns my future, so it took me awhile to accept the fact that I wasn't going to graduate in four years. I figure since we spend four years in high school we have the assumption to graduate in that time frame in college as well. I realize in college it's different. Everyone goes through a different time line. Many of us go through situations in life that can delay our graduation date. For instance, we can change multiple majors (that was my case), take a gap year, financial obligations can affect our education, transferring from different schools can be a reason why we can slightly delay our plan to graduate and other personal situations one can face can be the reason.
I remember making a list of the pros and cons on graduating late. My list of cons turned out to be shorter than my pros. The number one con had to be that I wasn't going to finish school early, how I planned. My pro list helped me realize that graduating college can be a second chance. I looked at it as an opportunity to grow my resume. I'm currently taking internships that are only available for college students, I look at it as an advantage to be able to make my experience grow and to find a secure job once I graduate a year later than my class.
Having to graduate late doesn't make me a failure, It just took me a while to experiment with other classes to see what I really wanted to do in life. I'm currently content and feel secure, at the moment, in my future. Having to graduate late isn't something to be ashamed of, in the end, you will receive your degree. The most important thing that I know is that it doesn't matter how quickly or how long it takes for you to graduate, what's important is that you don't give up, remain focused and be patient. Sooner or later you will have 99 problems but a degree won't be one.