Why I’m Happy About Graduating Later Than Expected

Just two months before I was expected to be graduating, I received news from my placement supervisor that the organization had decided to terminate my placement.

Since placement is an important component of my program, being terminated early often means not graduating on time. What a bummer, I first thought. But then, I realized something more important.

I hardly knew anyone or anything about my college or the student community.

This could definitely be because my program was delivered virtually. While I did enjoy the flexibility of staying home and participating in lectures behind the screen, I eventually grew tired of it because I realized how difficult it was to meet my classmates in person.

Even though some of us planned a few dinner dates and hangouts, I realized that I didn’t form a bond with my college community. I barely knew other students from different programs or had a chance to make friends outside of class. In fact, I felt stuck in my own bubble with the other 30 students in my cohort.

It was only when I attended a Student Leadership Conference that I began to realize what I was missing.
At the conference, I met students from various programs who worked in different departments at my school. Many spoke multiple languages, lived in a variety of countries, and had unique interests. One was studying to become a ballerina, and another wanted to become a chef.

The conference opened my eyes to what I won’t be able to do if I graduate.

I currently work for my college’s tutoring and athletics departments. These positions allow me to interact with fellow students and contribute more to my college community. Although the student wage isn’t the best, these jobs allow me to feel a sense of purpose and belonging.

If I did graduate this semester, I would have had to give up on my contracts for these jobs. So, I wouldn’t be able to contribute to my campus community or know more about the events. Moreover, I wouldn’t be able to interact with other student colleagues in different programs. So I would have to leave them behind.

I feel that I missed out on a lot during my college experience over the past two years.

I’m not talking about drinking or parties. I’m talking about the feeling of just being on campus or attending a college-wide event. I wasn’t able to attend any of these previously as I was preoccupied with school, work, and other personal affairs. But having that one extra year gives me more time to attend these events and socialize with others.

So, although graduating late may seem unideal, I will feel more prepared to tackle post-grad life.
This extra year will allow me to socialize and connect with other students while trying to figure out my goals for post-college life. I will also be able to secure a better placement and leave on good terms. And I may be able to work and volunteer with more departments within my college to gain more employability skills.

Taking your time before graduating is more beneficial than you may think – you shouldn’t rush to graduation if you aren’t comfortable with it.

The post-grad world scares the crap out of me. But just being able to converse with fellow students about my fears provides me with some solace. And being in a small college within a big city allows me to gain the confidence to kick ass in my career.

But most importantly, I can’t leave without the support and network from my own college. I can’t say that I’m a graduate of a place unless I know it well enough. So I’m not ready to be an alum yet. Perhaps after another year, when better memories are made, I will be ready.


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