You entered college with the naïve notion that you would never, EVER be a super senior. Fast forward to five years later when you hear yourself telling people, “I’m graduating in four and a quarter,” or, “I have one more year to go.” Perhaps you changed your major four times, added a minor during your third year, took time off or struggled to get the right classes at the right times.
Whatever the reason, here you are, feeling like a grandparent among the entire student body.
But you’re not alone.
You’re not the only one who’s taking some extra time to graduate. It may feel like everybody in your major graduated on time except for you, but chances are there are many of you left. Think of it as an opportunity to bond with people you weren’t able to get to know before!
Despite how awkward you may feel telling a freshman that you are a fifth year, there’s truly nothing wrong with being a super senior. There’s a large number of people who graduated well past their fourth year. Plus, you’re breaking the four-year myth and that makes you cool AF.
Being a fifth year is a blessing in disguise anyways. You might as well embrace the benefits.
You get to spend more time in your college town.
So maybe some or most of your friends have left, but consider yourself the lucky one. While they are desperately missing the college life, you have all this time to hang out in your college town. As a Cal Poly student, you can explore the parts of SLO you haven’t seen before, and you can appreciate the parts of SLO you’ve come to love. You can try new things, go to all of your favorite restaurants, go on more hikes, take advantage of the beach and go downtown more often.
As a fifth year, you have one last chance to do all the things you didn’t do during the first four years of your college career. This gives you the perfect opportunity to make a super senior bucket list.
You weren’t really ready to graduate anyways…
As the reality of the dreaded job search sets in, you realize there was no way you would’ve been ready to enter the “real world” after just four years. You seriously needed this extra time to fully develop your character…and your career choices.
Spending more time in college gives you extra time to train for things no one feels truly ready for: real adulthood and real jobs. Most people would love extra time to prepare for— aka procrastinate on—being an adult.
Adult-ing in college is hard. Adult-ing in the real world is harder.
As a fifth year, you just stop caring. But you also feel way more appreciative.
You do whatever you feel like doing, but in a way that’s different from before. Your FOMO disappears because you’ve stopped caring about what other people are doing, though this may be partially due to the fact that your friends are gone. Your classes feel like more of a joke than they have before (when did you get this good at BS-ing assignments?). You can’t wait until you won’t have to sit through another lecture ever again, but at the same time, you know you’ll miss it.
You pierce your nose and think you are finally ready to get your first tattoo. You walk around campus feeling like you know everything about the place, while you’re simultaneously trying to take it all in. You drink beer before class because that on-campus bar is finally open. You start realizing that you’re more knowledgeable than you thought you were (wait, college actually taught you something?). You wish you could hug the Rec Center because it’s the most beautiful gym you’ve ever seen and you’ll miss it terribly once you leave.
One day, in the middle of your last quarter as a fifth year, you find yourself sitting on the floor of your messy apartment, drinking wine while doing homework. Suddenly, you think to yourself: where has the time gone? Will life ever be the same?
The feeling is simultaneously blissful and unsettling, a peculiar mix of nostalgia and excitement. And it is in this moment you know precisely what Ferris meant. Sit back. Relax. Soak in the bittersweet fifth year vibes.