It’s sort of a strange concept to think that after 12 years of school, only doing what you’re told, that you then need to choose what you’d like to do for the rest of your life. Sure, we can explore our options prior to high school graduation, but it’s pretty difficult to imagine those possibilities realized, without actually trying them. So, if you find yourself overwhelmed about not graduating “on time”- this is for you.
Why do we seem to value how quickly we get our lives in order? Isn’t it more pressing to actually consider what you need? I have friends whose parents have promised them gifts if they graduate within 4 years. 4 years is the standard for a bachelor's degree, and it’s a totally reasonable timeframe given the number of credits required to graduate. Because of this, it’s become expected that students walk across that stage in 4 years or less. Just a societal expectation.
The only qualm I have about this idea is that it totally doesn’t account for any bumps along the way. Changing your major, studying abroad, transferring schools, whatever seemed to hold you back- don’t worry. It didn’t. Sometimes steps that seem backward, are really a step in the right direction. I started my undergraduate journey as a Music Ed major and changed it three more times before landing where I am now. It’s wildly frustrating to put copious amounts of time, money and effort into something, just to have it not count in the long run. But honestly, I’m pretty grateful that I didn’t decide that I simply needed to graduate after a certain number of semesters. If I did, I’d probably have ended up being a pretty shitty music teacher, because I lost interest in that field. I’ll let someone else do that job. (But, It’s totally possible to change your major and still graduate in 4 years or less, and if the timeline is crucial to you- know that you can still do it.)
Every semester costs money. A lot of money. I know that. I don’t want to seem ignorant to that fact. I just want to stress that maybe, possibly, the extra semester is worth it in the long run if you need it.
If you came out of the womb knowing that you wanted to be a nurse, an accountant, or a philosophy major with a Spanish minor, great. Amazing. I admire that, and your passion will serve you well.
Some of us just needed a minute to find ours.