7 Things I Learned By NOT Graduating On Time

7 Things I Learned By NOT Graduating On Time

Be proud no matter how long it takes you to walk across that stage.

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As we all know, graduation season has just occurred and for some of us, maybe this is when we would have graduated. But not graduating on time has actually become the norm, sadly, that doesn't always make some of us feel better. Personally, it's taking me a long time to be able to walk across that stage, but there are many valuable lessons I have learned during the course of my (long) college career.

1. It's your pace and your timeline.

Pacing yourself is one of the most important things that I have learned while attending college. It's too often we discover ourselves under an immense amount of pressure from society or seeing our friends graduating on time, to get it all done in a matter of four years. But, if we're being honest, most of that pressure just comes from within ourselves. Who ever said it was a bad thing to not graduate on time? This is your one shot to get it right, your one chance to discover your passions and what you want to do with your life. No big deal or anything, right? So, take your time and go at your pace.

2. Life happens.

Challenges will present themselves in your life. You will get thrown some crazy curve-balls that you were not expecting, and sometimes, that can affect your college career pathway. And guess what? That's OK! Personally, for me, midway through college I decided to pick up everything and move across the country. When I moved, not all my credits were transferrable. Although frustrating at the time, I wouldn't change anything. Because during that extra given time, I discovered my passions, but I also grew up and matured, which ultimately has helped me be able to cope and manage college even better.

3. Sometimes you decide to change your major.

There are so many people that I have met during my 75 years of attending college (not really, just feels that way), who went in their freshman year wanting to do one thing, and midway decided that clearly is not what they want to do for the rest of their lives. But that is what college is for! Discovering yourself, your passions and what you want to do for the rest of your life! I went in as a psychology major and now I am currently studying journalism…like, what? You change. You morph. You grow. You find yourself. That is the purpose of college; embrace it.

4. Jobs care, but do they actually?

I have had friends tell me stories about how they were worried about the fact that they weren't done with college, or they had run past their initial graduation date, when applying to jobs. They thought that all they would look at would be their academics, but one friend told me she got the job because of her hard work, dedication, and charisma. She is now in a position geared towards what she is currently studying in school, gaining real-world experience and knowledge in her field. Keep that in mind when you are worried about applying to jobs; not all companies solely look at your academics, they also look at you as a person.

5. I'm not sure if everyone knows this, but college is actually really hard.

You are not just being tested academically, although, I am pretty tired of late-night study sessions and filling out scantrons. But it isn't just your academics going haywire, you are also being tested mentally, physically and emotionally. Your patience is constantly being tested during school; can I get an amen? But let the obstacles you face increase your patience and perseverance. We have all at one point had to wait a semester to get into a class, or retake a class to receive a better grade, or wait to apply for a job because of a degree requirement. During the time, it's super frustrating but taking the time to get it right the first time and develop patience, has personally really helped shape me and mature me as a person- plus, it gets me one step closer to that stage.

6. There are so many people in similar positions.

Did you know the on-time graduation rate at a public university is 19%? Math isn't my strong suit but I'm pretty sure that isn't a lot. I'm not even going to just hit you with the stone-cold facts, if you just take a look around your classroom, you will find so many different people in different situations and at different ages. It's refreshing and comforting knowing that there are so many other people in a similar situation as you- knowing that you aren't alone and that this is very common these days. So, anytime you start thinking, "I am the only one going through this and no one understands!" just re-read my first sentence.

7. Graduating is a huge accomplishment.

Graduating from college is an accomplishment of a lifetime. There are thousands of people who drop out of college every year due to the financial strain, the workload, or just not being able to handle it. If it takes you four years, if it takes you six years, or even if it takes you twenty years- it doesn't matter. You worked hard and you earned it; therefore, you should be nothing less than proud of yourself. Your degree is something no one else can take away from you.

It may at times feel as if you are crawling to the finish line, and not only are you crying out for help, but so is your bank account- and believe me, I know it's expensive, but you cannot put a price tag on your life, your happiness or your passions. Don't quit. You may be exhausted and broke, but the end result is such a huge accomplishment that no one can take away from you. Continue to grow and set yourself up for success and be proud no matter how long it takes you to walk across that stage.

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30 First-Apartment Essentials College Kids Forget To Buy At Target And Later Order On Amazon

Don't wait until you need to take something out of the oven to realize that you don't have any oven mitts.

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If you're anything like I am, you're beyond excited to start planning and shopping for your first apartment. It's easy to get wrapped up in the fun stuff for your first apartment, trust me, as a former Bed Bath & Beyond employee I could spend hours wandering through shower curtains and bedding.

Before you get too carried away there are just some essential things that you'll need, but they aren't as much fun to pick out. Don't wait until you need to take something out of the oven to realize that you don't have any oven mitts, because I really don't see that ending well for you (I may or may not know that from personal experience).

1. Oven mitts

Gets those oven mitts because the sleeve of your sweater might seem like it will work, but I'm living proof that it won't, most sweaters have holes.

2. Trash bags

Don't wait until you need to throw something away to realize you don't have them.

3. Hand soap

It's not like a dorm bathroom where the maintenance staff refills a soap dispenser that's drilled into the wall. You're on your own kid.

4. Toilet paper

Again, no staff replacing it for you. Stay on top of it and make sure you always replace an empty roll, especially if you have roommates.

5. Water filter or pitcher

This one depends on whether your water is safe to drink or not, but be prepared. You don't want to move in under the summer sun only to realize you don't have any drinkable water at your snazzy new pad.

6. Tools

Hammers, screwdrivers, all that jazz. If you're moving in some furniture you're probably going to need tools to put it together.

7. Lighting

You don't want to be unpacking and stumbling around a new space in the dark your first night. Know what lighting is built in and where you might need to add some light.

8. Silverware organizer

Ok, so you probably remembered to pack the silverware, but do you really want to throw it all in a pile in a drawer? That's a good way to grab the wrong end of a knife by accident, maybe get some dividers to keep your silverware nice and sorted.

9. Dish towels

Most people think about bath towels, but if you're not used to having a kitchen you might not have thought of dish towels. You're going to need those when you're whipping up your favorite dinner.

10. Measuring cups

I'm a huge advocate for estimating and guessing in the kitchen, but if you're baking anything at all you should probably at least have some measuring utensils as a guide.

11. Bottle opener and corkscrew

You're going to want to crack open a drink and celebrate your first night in the new place. Wouldn't it be a buzzkill if you couldn't even get the drinks open?

12. Sponges

You have to be able to clean the counters and the dishes when you're done being an expert chef!

13. Paper towels

Spills happen, and you don't always want to clean them with your nice towels.

14. Toilet plunger

It's one of those things you never really think about... that is, until you need one.

15. Air freshner

You know, for after you use the toilet plunger.

16. Extension cords

You probably have a larger space than you're used to, sometimes those cords that come with all your new electronics just aren't quite long enough.

17. Utensil container

A little round pot or bucket is the perfect place to put all of your kitchen utensils. Things like spatulas and whisks will take up space in your drawers and create clutter. Plus, keeping them out makes them easier to grab when you're whipping up some food.

18. Batteries

There's nothing worse than getting your new TV all set up and realizing you can't use the remote.

19. Curtains

If you need darkness to sleep, you want to make sure you get those bedroom curtains up and ready to roll.

20. Toilet bowl brush

Sorry, but I'm certainly not reaching in there with my hands.

21. Ice cube trays

To keep you cool as a cucumber during this stressful time.

22. Can opener

Try prying a can open with your hands. I dare you.

23. Stain remover

For when you try to pry the can open with your hands and manage to spray tomato sauce all over yourself.

24. Carbon monoxide/Smoke detectors

Cause we don't want any tragedies here.

25. Collander

We both know you will be making pasta every night, so you're going to need to drain it.

26. Coasters

You definitely don't want to ruin your super fancy new Ikea table.

27. Dry erase board

No need to argue over who should take out the trash, just make sure to write down everyone's chores.

28. Underbed storage

On a college budget there's no way you can expect a walk-in closet, those clothes and shoes will have to go somewhere.

29. Drying rack

For when the dryer in your building inevitably stops working.

30. Step stool

If you're short, like me, you need a little help reaching that top shelf.

Hopefully this list has helped you feel a little more prepared to move into your first apartment. The decorating and planning is so much more enjoyable when you know you have all of your bases covered. I wish you the best of luck with your first major endeavor in the world of adulting!

Note: As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Don't Buy A Graduation Gown If There Are Some Already At Home You Can Reuse Or Borrow

Even though I had three graduation gowns at home, my high school still required me to buy another graduation gown.

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Last year, I was a senior at high school. I had three graduation gowns from my sisters. Even though I had three graduation gowns at home, my high school still required me to buy another graduation gown. I was told that the graduation gown has a different color and design. I was also told that if I do not buy the new graduation gown, then I might not be able to walk in the graduation ceremony. This meant that I might not be able to get my diploma from the graduation ceremony.

When I bought the graduation gown, it was the same color and design as my sisters' graduation gowns. It was the same, like my eldest sister's graduation gown from 2014 and the twin's graduation gown from 2015. Four years apart from my eldest sister's graduation gown and three years apart from the twins' graduation made no difference to the graduation gown of 2018.

Why do I still need to buy a graduation gown if it turned out to be the same as my sisters' graduation gown? Why do high schools require students that have siblings to purchase another graduation gown? I understand that siblings have to purchase it if they cannot fit the graduation gown that they have. I understand that the siblings have to purchase it if the graduation gown has a different color. Let's say the eldest sibling has an orange graduation gown, while his or her younger sibling has to wear a blue graduation gown. My graduation gown was still blue like my sisters' graduation gowns. I understand, too, that high schools need siblings to purchase the graduation gowns in order to raise money for school events. If not, then what are they doing with that money instead?

I totally understand that an extra gown is needed for a twin. One sister graduated from high school in 2014. Two of them graduated in 2015. One twin can use that sister's gown. The other twin has to purchase it. However, the twins were told that both of them have to buy the gown. It cannot just be one twin that purchases the high school graduation gown.

Some people told me that maybe the zipper changed. Hey, when we are walking at the graduation ceremony, who is going to care about the zipper? Why do parents, teachers, and school administrators come to the graduation ceremony? They want to see the students get their diploma, not see what graduation gown that they are wearing.

Compared to some high schools, some colleges do not care if students purchase a graduation gown or borrow it from a sibling, friend, or alumni. My sisters recently graduated from college. They did not buy a graduation gown this time. They borrowed the gown from a friend. The friend was happy that someone wanted to make use of the graduation gown because it was only worn once and now it will get worn again. However, they still needed to buy a tassel since their friend graduated in a different year. Despite that, my sisters were able to save plenty of money because they did not have to purchase the gown.

From this, there is a true difference with how the high schools and colleges regulate the graduation gowns. It is easier for high schools to keep track of graduation gown purchases. High schools can keep track because there are not that many students in them. There are hundreds of high school students in a high school and millions of college students in a college. This shows that having siblings is not a good thing for high school graduations while it is a good thing in college graduations.

Here is the amount of money that has been paid to the three high school graduation gowns. Each of them cost $60 which equaled $180. In 2018, the graduation gown became cheaper. It cost $25. So, $180 + $25 = $205. If my graduation gown still cost $60, then my family would flip and explode because the total amount would be $240. If the high school allowed my sisters and me to reuse our graduation gowns, then we could save plenty of money.

So from these pictures, do our graduation gowns look the same to you? To my family and me, there is really no difference at all!

Amber Chai 2014: My eldest sister's graduationAmber Chai

Amber Chai 2015: The twins' graduationAmber Chai

Amber Chai 2018: My graduationAmber Chai

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