Dear college student who’s not graduating on time,
You’re not a failure.
Maybe you transferred schools, changed your major or failed a class. You could have taken unnecessary courses or certain courses weren’t available at the time you needed it. Whatever the case may be, you won’t be walking across that stage with the class you came in with.
The average time to complete a bachelor’s degree takes four years. But guess what? You’re not average!
Something during your college career ignited and caused your situation to mold and shape you into the person you are.
You did your best at your old school. Something in you at the time wanted a change, so you made that change by transferring schools. This brought along lost credits and distant friendships. Though, being at your new school provided you with new opportunities, networks/connections and knowledge that you probably wouldn’t have acquired elsewhere.
You were on a path of obtaining a degree in a field you absolutely hated or had no interest in. At the time you thought it was something you wanted but you realized early on that, that specific field wasn’t for you. By switching majors, you dodged a bullet of possibly being in a dead end job or wasting thousands of dollars on a degree you would’ve never used.
It could’ve been that you partied too much and your priorities weren’t straight. Maybe you were in such a rush to graduate, you took the maximum amount of credit hours in a semester and ended up failing. You’re not dumb, the class was just a challenge for you. During that extra time of retaking classes and repairing your GPA, you actually learned something in class or met a special someone in a tutoring session—who knows.
It’s possible, you registered for class late or the class that you really needed turned out to be the same class hundreds of other people really needed and was full within five minutes of class registration opening. In the meantime, maybe you took electives or unnecessary courses where you know you’d easily pass—and learn something useful, of course. But because of that, you had extra time to do other things during the semester, such as run in an election or pledge a fraternity or sorority, without the worry of difficult classes stressing you out.
Other graduation setbacks
These aren’t the only reasons that can cause a graduation setback, however, they are a few common culprits. Other reasons could be due to high demand classes filled to the max, taking time off from school, studying abroad, participating in an out of town internship or bad academic advising. The list goes on.
Everyone’s journey is different, and the most important thing about college isn’t when you graduate but that you graduate. A completion of a degree shows dedication and commitment. Once you believe that it’s not about the destination, but the journey, you’ll look at your college career much differently.
Reflect on your time in college, so far, and ask yourself these three questions:
What’s my biggest accomplishment since being in college?
What’s one fear I had in high school that I no longer have since being in college?
Who has impacted my life the most during my college career? (professor, roommate, Resident Assistant, etc.)
Writing down and answering the questions above with honesty will help you see how far you’ve come since freshman year, and that’s what college is all about—growth!
While some graduate early or “on time,” your extra semester, year or two (or more) is all apart of the plan. It may not be the exact plan you had for yourself. However, it’s the plan that’s going to take you on a road to things that’s just meant for you.
Congratulations, future graduate!