I’m Graduating Later Than I Have Expected and It's Okay
by Joshua Lipit
Imagine enjoying the last moments of your 4-year degree with your blockmates. Taking photos with your friends while all of you are wearing black togas topped with the notorious tasseled hat. You can’t help but feel grateful for the friends who helped you study–even having study sessions outside class hours; you endured the winding road of internship; and most of all–you defended your college thesis!
But what if you don’t know your chosen field yet? How will you graduate in 4 years?
You did it! You made it through everything after four years! After several terms of studying for your bachelor’s program, you finally survived college. After all those years of hard work, it’s now time to immerse yourself in the real world in your chosen field.
After graduating Senior High, I immediately planned that I wanted to take up a Bachelor’s degree in Music Production at a college somewhere in Manila. Everything was laid out perfectly–enroll in 2018, finish 9 semesters, create the most magical composition ever for a Symphony Orchestra, and graduate in 2022 with flying colors. Having a plan B wasn’t even at the back of my mind then. It was the only place I thought I would be and should be.
Or so I thought.
Fast forward today, I’m now studying BSBA Marketing and Advertising in APC. Having no background whatsoever on Accounting and other Management subjects during Senior High, I will not be graduating along with my batch even if I try to catch up on all of my back subjects.
I have classes with the younger batch, some with the seniors, and some with students from different programs. It was such a struggle; actually, it still is. But looking at it in a different perspective, it’s not that bad.
You see, I know you’ve heard this many times already and it’s starting to get annoying, but college really isn’t a race. It’s about learning who you are and what you want to be. Your program flowchart is a guide, not a big Bingo card where the only one who finishes first shall get the prize. Some people know who they want to be and finish everything on time, which is well and good. Some people, on the other hand, are still learning who they are and who they want to be while they’re already progressing with their degree. But don’t worry, both scenarios are okay and valid. People are different, and there are no hard and fast rules about personal and individual journeys.
Keeping the following things in mind throughout your college days won’t help you finish it any faster, but it will help you in making it less miserable. Here are some tips as well on how you can enjoy your waiting season.
Illustration by Tomi Diano
- When life hands you lemons, make a lemonade stand.
I know this isn’t the correct saying but use this extra time to discover yourself deeper. Focus not only on getting that degree but focus on what and where you are now. Try to make the most out of the moment you are in. Enjoy your growth season, bloom where you are now planted and you’ll see time pass by quicker when you go beyond your limits. Focus on where you want to be next, and what you are capable of. When life hands you lemons, don’t just make lemonade–make more ’til you can soon build a lemonade stand. Aim higher!
- Growth sometimes happens in the midst of friendships.
Being an irregular student may sometimes mean enrolling in a class with the seniors or even the younger batch, but always remember that no one is against you. Maybe some are having the same case as you are and some may be not, but always remember to make friends along the process. There is learning in making friends and connecting to others. It’s the sharing of experiences that make you feel less alone and that help is within your reach.
- That degree won’t go anywhere. You will graduate.
Worrying and getting jealous is inevitable when you see your high school classmates graduating earlier than you will. Be happy and applaud for them! They found who they wanted to be. Now it’s your time to be patient and wait for your turn. Worrying won’t help you get that degree a lot quicker; it can even be a distraction to your growth. Try not to worry too much because you too will get that degree. You will graduate.
Lastly, I want you to remember that college isn’t that survival game show you watch during weekend nights. It’s about learning inside and outside the walls of the classroom; discovering new things you never thought you could do; making new friends from different student organizations; and most of all, enjoying every moment and lesson that is thrown at you.
You may be graduating a little bit longer than expected, but if you are able to explore and discover more of yourself–your capabilities, your strengths–and when you discover where you desire to be, then you are already on your way. 🙂