It used to be straightforward. Four years of high school, check. Four years of college, check. Enter into adulthood and get a real job, check.
But these days it’s getting harder and harder to complete college in what used to be the ideal four years. These days, if your field of choice doesn't already require additional years for the major, you may be one of those students staying longer anyways. Take it from me; I am a design major and making my way out on fifth-year status.
Many factors come into play when it comes to putting in extra time to receive a degree. Major impaction, major changes, horrible registration dates, and one section only classes are just some of the most notorious culprits in prolonging the completion of your degree. What makes them notorious is that you never know what year it's going to hit you and you have to decide on how to proceed with plan B or plan C.
In my case, I took the community college route and busted my butt to transfer in two years. Goal achieved. However, under the impression that I would be able to get into the more rigorous BFA graphic design program that required additional years, I planned my schedule for longer. To say the least, everything didn't go according to plan.
I technically could have graduated last spring or even this fall, but I felt it was in my best interest to take a minor. I wanted something that would complement my degree. After all, I was already past the four-year mark. I figured one more year wouldn't kill me. But honestly, it has been taking a toll on my being.
As a fifth year, you are constantly wondering if the academic choices you made were the right solutions for you. You debate on whether or not to just call it quits and leave before reaching the finish line. Every day is a struggle of wondering why it is taking you literally 5ever to finish school and move on to the next chapter of your life.
But you have to remember: you are not alone.
There are a ton of other students on the same boat as you. They are just as confused, stressed, and ready to jump ship because the idea of being a student forever has plagued his or her mind. They figure that just going straight into the workforce should have been the first option and contemplate on whether to stop now and proceed right into it without a degree.
However, just because it's taking a little longer than what we expected doesn't mean we should be discouraged. Yes, I know that school routine has become redundant. It's what we have known our entire lives. We want a change. We want it fast. College sometimes just seems to be in the way of going after that want.
Even though being a fifth-year student isn't as exciting as it could be as if you went to Hogwarts, there's still a form of magic in it and you have to see the other side of the story. Pushing through college right after high school may be the best path for you. Everyone is always saying it will be harder to go back to school after you've already had the taste of full-time work. The way I see it is by putting in all your efforts to get it out of the way while the school routine is still fresh in your system will help ease the stress of debating on whether to go back to it later on down the road.
So don't worry, my friend. The doubts of being a forever student will come to end and before you know it that diploma will be in your hands.