I haven’t posted since April, which is quite a long time, but I have my reasons and I also know that those reasons are no longer an issue.
So back in June, I walked in commencement and “graduated.”
I didn’t actually graduate. But I will!
I hadn’t completed an internship yet so I technically couldn’t graduate at commencement, but I am completing my internship over this summer and will graduate upon its completion in August.
When I first started college I wanted to graduate in four years without taking summer terms. Well, that didn’t happen. I’m a little over five years in (not counting the college courses I took in high school), still haven’t finished yet, and I haven’t had a summer without classes in a few years. But, I’m not a failure because it took me five years and I still haven’t graduated yet.
I am completing my degree at my own pace and I am definitely going to finish. It’s more common now to complete a degree in more than four years. Honestly, if someone tells me they did it in four years, I think they are lucky that they had the resources to do so. I also think it takes a lot of luck to know exactly what you want to do going in, not change your mind, and still end up happy.
If you take more than four years to complete your degree, you are in the majority. If you are a nontraditional student, don’t have the financial support others have, or change your mind at all, you are just like most higher education students. According to the National Student Clearing House Research
Center, the average length of time to complete a bachelor’s degree is 5.1 years. I will have completed mine in 5.25 years by the end of August.
I worked during my degree, sometimes two jobs at a time, changed my degree multiple times, changed schools, took a term off to keep a scholarship, and was limited to what courses were offered or available in my program each term; This made it difficult to graduate in four years.
I’m perfectly happy being in the average, because this means I’m among people in the same or a similar boat. I also got a lot of great experience working two jobs during school that have helped me significantly already. Before I start a career, I will know what it’s like to work hard in housekeeping, family entertainment, retail, taxes, news, and hold management positions.
Your college experience isn’t wrapped up in how long it took you to do it, it’s about what you learned about your field, yourself, and what else you did outside of school. If you take more than four years to complete your degree and you don’t complete it by commencement, don’t let it convince you that you’re a failure because you aren’t. Everyone has their own timeline, follow yours at your own pace, don’t rush it, don’t compare yours to someone else’s, and trust yourself.