I'm A 'Super Senior' And Ultimately, I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

I'm A 'Super Senior' And Ultimately, I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way

Taking more than four years to finish college is actually more common than you think...

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Ever since the beginning of high school, I had my academic future planned out. I was going to be a pre-med student in college, graduate with my bachelor's degree within four years, then move onto graduate school. Once I started taking my pre-med classes, I started struggling quite a bit.

I was retaking certain classes not only to get a better grade but to also understand the material more. After retaking multiple courses, I started to fall behind in the number of credit hours necessary to keep the proper class status. At that point, I knew I wasn't going to be able to graduate in four years and would eventually become a "super senior."

The term "super senior" refers to a student who will be taking longer than the traditional four years to complete their undergraduate studies. People can become a super senior for a variety of reasons.

Some people may not be able to attend school full time. Others may double major or be in a program that takes longer than four years to complete. There are also instances where students develop different interests and change their major.

As I said, I had never planned on being a super senior, so when it became my reality, I felt defeated. Being a super senior made me feel like I was failing at college. During my fourth year of school, I witnessed many of my friends since freshman year filling out their graduation paperwork, applying to graduate programs, getting internships and co-ops, or looking for their first adult job. While I was happy for their success, it was hard watching my friends graduate without me.

Another unpleasant aspect of being a super senior is having to tell people you are one. I've lost count on the number of times friends and family have assumed I would be graduating and asked me what my plans were for the next year, and I had to awkwardly respond that I would still be finishing up classes for my degree.

As much as I didn't want to become a super senior, the fact was that I became one. However, I am currently in the last semester of my undergraduate studies and I must say that I am truly thankful that I got to spend that extra year in college.

Having the additional time in college gave me the opportunity to realize what my true calling was. I was able to take classes that I would have never taken on my pre-med pathway and I discovered that social science subjects like psychology and social work are actually my passion.

Once I realized I was in the wrong major and started taking classes that interested me, I actually started to look forward to going to class every day. Not only did I like my classes, but my grades improved immensely.

Another bonus to being a super senior has been the new relationships that have developed. Once all of my college friends graduated and moved away, I tried to find other people to spend my time with. I am so thankful for all of the new friendships I have made because of being a super senior. Had I not been in school that extra year, odds are good I would have never met them!

All in all, becoming a super senior was not part of my initial plan, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I was able to learn more about myself and what my passions are, as well as meet some amazing new people along the way.

In the end, it doesn't matter how long it takes for you to get that degree, all that matters is that you earned it!

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12 Dorm Room 'Essentials' That Are Actually A Waste Of Money

If three years of college has taught me anything, it's that I wasted a lot of money and space on things for my dorm room that I never used.

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Now approaching my senior year of college, there are so many things that I have experienced in my three years away that I either look back at and smile just at the thought of or immediately regret. With a younger sister going into her freshman year of college, I hope to teach her as much of those lessons I learned in advance so she doesn't make the same mistakes as me. One of the most important things I learned after moving in and out of dorm rooms and apartments for three years is what should and shouldn't come with you to school. Because, let's be real, as much as we want to pack away our entire lives and fit them in our minuscule dorm room, not everything is necessary.

However, knowledge is power, and I don't want to just save my sister from making those mistakes. That's why I'm here to share the 12 things that aren't necessary for you to bring to school:

1. A Keurig/coffee maker

While living in an apartment and having all the space in a kitchen for a coffee maker and the time to make my own hot drinks, having a Keurig was a godsend. But I'm going to be completely honest, as someone who wanted a Keurig so badly before freshman year...I rarely used it when I lived in the dorms. Between having meal points to buy my own coffee and just never having the time or energy to make it in the morning and then clean the dishes afterward, it just wasn't worth the waste of money and space.

2. A giant television

You may see pictures of dorm rooms and see students with giant televisions along their window or squished onto their desks. But unless you're living in a larger apartment, having a huge flat screen TV has no purpose for a small dorm room. There are TV's usually all over campus, especially in the common rooms that are free for you to use. If you really do feel like you need a TV in your dorm, a smaller one will suffice, because anything larger is going to take up some much-needed room.

3. Any type of hot plate/mini grill, etc.

Besides the fact that these are banned in most dormitories anyways, it's not smart to sneak one of these into your rooms. I can't tell you how many people I know that have accidentally started a fire in the dorm room from using a toaster they snuck in or a special "grilled cheese grill." The dining halls will have everything you could possibly want and need, and most dorm rooms come with a mini fridge and microwave to supplement anything further.

4. Candles

I'll admit, I am guilty of using these my sophomore year of college. Do I regret the millions of times I freaked out because I almost lit my dorm room on fire? Absolutely.

It's not worth it. Your RA will probably catch you, it's not worth the risk of accidentally setting your shoebox-sized dorm on fire, and the smoke detectors in those rooms are so sensitive that you're bound to set them off.

5. A printer

Unless you're living off campus in an apartment, there really is no reason to have a printer in your dorm room. There are tons of printers throughout the different buildings of every university, and most allot a certain amount of sheets for you to do your printing. Printers are big and clunky, hard to store, and the ink is very expensive. Don't consider buying one unless you plan on moving off campus.

6. An iron and ironing board

Take it from someone who absolutely hates wearing wrinkly clothes, the whole iron and ironing board duo was not a smart move my freshman year. It took up way too much room and when I did actually want to iron, it was so annoying to find a spot to do it in my small room.

If you're really obsessive about having non-wrinkled clothes like I am, you can invest in a mini steamer, which is super cheap, stored extremely easily because they're so small, and work just as well as an iron. I ended up swapping out for one of these my sophomore year and loving it so much more.

7. Bean bag chairs/Folding chairs

Any extra seating for a dorm room is honestly unnecessary besides the standard desk chairs that come with the dorm. The floor space is so limited that taking it up with any other large items is going to make it extremely difficult to navigate around your room. Also, when your friends come to hang out, they usually will end up just sitting on your bed or your desk chair anyways.

8. A body pillow

I don't really know what the use of these things are. I had one freshman year, and it laid against my bed the entire year and I never used it. I just found laying on it extremely awkward and uncomfortable and it was just so big that it took up too much room on my already tiny Twin XL bed.

9. A laundry hamper

A stand-up laundry hamper is just going to take up way too much space that you don't have. Instead, invest in some nicely made laundry bags that you can put your dirty laundry in and just easily carry over to the laundry room. A lot of stores even make special bags that differentiate between lights, darks, and delicates so the sorting is already done for you before you do your laundry.

10. A vacuum

While the idea of having a vacuum is nice, and I myself have had one all three years, it just took up way too much room in my dorm and I later found out you could just rent one from the commons whenever you wanted to clean your floor. Most universities do have cleaning supplies for rent, such as brooms, swifters, vacuums, etc., so there's no need trying to fit all of those in your closet.

11. A million throw pillows

While they'll make your bed look cute, making your bed every single morning and remembering where to put the millions of decorative pillows can become very annoying, not to mention finding a place to put them whenever you turn down your bed.

12. Picture frames

While having tons of pictures in your dorm room is nice, and I say the more the merrier, bringing physical picture frames is just a waste because there's not much shelf or desk place to place them. Instead, find a cute wall decoration that holds photos or clips to hang them from your wall. It'll save a ton of space and also cover up those bare, ugly dorm room walls.

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It Took Until My Senior Year To Realize I Might Want To Go To Grad School

I don't think I have learned enough yet.

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School was never something I disliked but it also was not something I was super excited for. I went to good schools growing up, had great teachers and made excellent grades. I was a good student but I also knew that someday school would come to an end.

As high school came to an end I bounced around ideas of what I wanted to. Not one of them involved being a professor at a university or a teacher at high school. It was not meant to come off as me thinking these positions were not good enough for me but rather I felt I could never live up to the teachers and professors I had loved and learned from.

I knew that I could teach and help students but that was only half of being a teacher, the other was being a role model and shaping them into a better person if they needed it. That's what I was nervous about and that was why I never thought about continuing education. I believed I would never make potential students better as students or people. However, this idea simply became just an idea. I should not let one idea in my mind stop me from attempting something and that has not stopped me before but as I think about life after college, graduate school and even a Ph.D. is looking more and more like a better option.

Graduate school was never on my mind when I got to college. I sometimes flirted with the idea but I also stated how I could come back to school after I make a decent salary. I wanted an opportunity to pay with my money or apply for scholarships. I flirted with the idea but it was never anything concrete. I seemed to go back and forth, but finally, there was something that made me consider graduate school: my decision to change my major.

I was always set to graduate a semester later and in my senior year, I made the biggest choice of my life by changing my major. I was struggling in my old major and I was afraid that if I continued to struggle it would disrupt my passion for education or not motivate me to graduate. A year later I can say that this was the best choice for me and it helped me recapture my love of learning.

In my new major it became common for people to be thinking about graduate school and I got me thinking. Some of my friends had already taken the GRE or were in the Accelerated Master's Program. I was not jealous or angry that I did not take the opportunity but it shined some light and got me thinking. What if I did go to graduate school? There was no harm in studying for the GRE or talking about it with family and friends. I brought it up to my parents and they respected my idea but I wanted to know what my professors would think.

Since changing my major I have kept a great relationship with many of my professors and I have a good level of comfort about certain questions. When I asked two of my professors they stated how it would be a good idea and that I should consider graduate school.

Five years ago I would not have viewed graduate school as continuing studies. I would have viewed it as more school and would be unsure if I needed it. I can say that now my perspective is different and I see graduate school as a way to focus on a subject that I love. I know that if I do want to be a professor I have a long way to go but I know that I have some great motivators that I can surround myself with and ask for help. I don't want to be like my professors, I just want to be the best me.

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