To be honest, I really dread the spring time. Pollen is overtaking the campus and so are the graduates of 2019. I get so jealous when I see students taking photo shoots in their caps and gowns. However, when this spring semester came around, I didn’t feel an ounce of envy. I knew that spring 2020, I was going to be graduating. After all the blood, sweat and tears, it was finally going to be my turn. It was almost here, I could taste it. Gosh, I was so excited to get out and embrace the world and start my own career.
So imagine my disappointment when I got out of my last advising meeting with the news that I would have to extend my graduation date by another semester. I held it together in my meeting, but as soon as I got to my car, I lost it. Students passing by my non-tinted windows would have thought someone just died. At this point, I was seriously considering dropping out and becoming a stripper. You think I’m kidding. Two problems with that idea: one, I have morals and two, I love food, therefore I don’t have a stripper body. So I cried some more, took a deep breath and scheduled another meeting to plan for next fall.
OK, some of you may be thinking, “chill, it’s just one more semester” or “wow, you’re really dramatic. It could be worse.” Those of you thinking this must be either a freshman or you’re graduating on time. I have been in college since I was 18. I’m currently 24. It will take me seven years to get a bachelor’s degree. SEVEN YEARS FOR A BACHELOR’S DEGREE. Do you know how many comments I hear from my family, friends and coworkers about me being a “career student”? And what is even worse, I told everyone that I am going to be graduating in spring 2020. Now, I have to tell them, “Just kidding, I’m the worst and I’ll never be graduating. Thank you for the support!” How annoying. It also is a downer because I am so hungry for my future career. I want to graduate and get the heck out of Tyler. Extending a semester means I have to extend my life here in this town.
There was a moment where I really thought that I was just going to get lost in the system and never graduate. The light at the end of the tunnel went out.
It took me three hours to get over the bad news.
I know for a fact that this has happened to other students. In fact, one of my very best friends had to extend her graduation date as well. Did I look at her differently? No. Did I shame her? Nope. Did I tell her that it was her fault because she’s stupid? Absolutely not. So, if I didn’t do that to her, why the heck am I doing that to myself?
I’m not graduating on time, big deal.
Does it suck? Yeah, it’s a little disappointing. But I would be more disappointed in myself if I just gave up.
So I took a little longer than usual to get a degree. That doesn’t make me less, it doesn’t make me dumb and it doesn’t mean I’m behind in life. And guess what? I have grown so much in my seven year journey. I have blossomed into this young lady who can conquer the world if she sets her mind to it. I have met incredible people along the way. I finally found a major I fell in love with. But most importantly, I have found myself. I have discovered the woman who I was meant to be all along. I’m not quite sure I would be the same person if I had stuck with my original four year plan. I also get to double minor now, which is great.
There was also a personal lesson in not graduating on time. I have learned that it is not about MY timing. It’s all up to God. If I’m being honest, God’s timing is really annoying. Sometimes I just question the Man upstairs, “Like, hey I’m ready to go. I want to go do the things that I am put on this earth to do. Why aren’t You letting that happen?” We really go round and round. But He continues to ease my concerns and really surprises me. If I did everything my way, it would probably be a hot mess and I would end up in a mental hospital. I am a person that likes to go full throttle when I want something. I really doubt I would have had the same opportunities I have received if it was based on my timing. I’m very thankful God doesn’t let me have my way sometimes. I am also very blessed He loves me unconditionally, even when I throw temper tantrums.
My point? If you are like me and aren’t graduating on time or it has taken you more time than your friend, it’s okay. It’s actually a blessing. You get more time to figure out who you are and who you don’t want to be. I wouldn’t trade these past seven years for anything, EVEN my mistakes.
I think it’s important to know that we are all on our own journeys. People who graduate in four year, that’s amazing. People who come back when they are 35 and graduate, that’s also amazing. No one’s journey is the same, because that would be completely boring. And if people are giving you flack for your journey, I have the perfect quote for you:
“If you aren’t in the arena also getting you’re a** kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback,” Brene Brown.
That is one of my favorite quotes to live by. Put people’s unnecessary comments on mute. They are not in the classroom learning with you, they are not by your side through the all nighters, they are not hugging you when
you have a mental breakdown due to lack of sleep and it’s finals week. They have no clue what you go through to earn that diploma; they have no idea how much energy it takes. Therefore, their opinions are none of your business.
To my readers who are struggling with graduation: keep going! I am so proud of you and how far you have come. Don’t quit!
To my readers who are graduating this spring: you did it! I am incredibly proud of your accomplishment! Embrace the next chapter of your journey, wherever it takes you!
I don’t care if it takes you four years or forty, get your degree and go conquer the world.