Commuter Life: Diploma Delays

-Photo courtesy of Flickr user gadgetdude

The spring semester has just began, yet I can’t help but wonder what it will feel like when the last few weeks of school arrive. I envision no more stressing about exams or trying to finish five assignments in the same week, for a while at least, that is. I wasn’t always looking forward to graduating from college. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say a few thoughts ran through my head about dropping out or taking time off when I was in community college. There was a point where I was changing what I wanted to do with my life about once every week. Career paths ranged from a medical coder to a veterinarian technician. I didn’t know what I saw myself as, just that I wanted to be out in the world doing something.

If you’ve ever been to community college, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The atmosphere is a lot different than a university setting. In some ways, it felt like a continuation of high school rather than college itself. I studied a major I wasn’t crazy about just to take all of my general education classes.

I was confused about my future, to be honest. To the point where I needed to take a break from school altogether. After studying four semesters as a full-time student, I continued on with one semester part time to finish my associates degree. Then I was done for a few months.

I took eight months off of school, but within those eight months I realized my true passion in this world: writing. It didn’t matter what type of writing, I just needed to write. I didn’t sit around and do nothing during those months, but I spoke with my family, got my act together and focused my thought process. Within that time frame I applied to transfer to Rowan, met with my counselor and attended orientation. 

I feel like the pressure of getting a college degree right after high school, or even at all, is unrealistic for some of us. It puts a time limit on a crucial life decision with the exception of those who knew what career they wanted from adolecense. After all, trades are always in demand. Shouldn’t we all get the chance to take some time before determining which career will be the one we follow for the rest of our lives?

Being in school for (technically) five years is exhausting, especially knowing I should have graduated within four. It’s difficult to watch as your best friends and high school classmates graduate and make their own way in the world, leaving you behind in the same place you’ve been for what seems like forever.

I can’t be mad at my situation since it led me to a positive place with great friends, opportunities and a huge interest in my career choice. For those who are studying to attain a bachelor’s degree within six, seven or even 10 years, I have the utmost respect for you because you’re working hard for a better life. I’ve been there and at some point – we all will be. Whether it’s waiting for a job offer or, better yet, a promotion, we will all get to where we need to be eventually.

It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get this one piece of paper that qualifies us for a job, because there are plenty of different ways we can get to the career we’re passionate about. It might be a long road, but once we are in the home stretch all that we’ve struggled through doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

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