5 Awkward Things Only December Graduates Will Understand

Victory lap, fifth year, refusal to enter into the real world, call it what you want but graduating in December has become a new thing as four-year degrees become increasingly far-fetched. An extra semester may seem like no big deal, but those of us know it can be a little awkward.

College is hard, and sometimes a change (or three—but who’s counting?) in your major can lead you to realize you won’t be crossing the stage in May with the rest of your friends. Regardless of your reason for taking the untraditional route to graduating, you will more than likely find yourself in one of these painfully uncomfortable situations.

Photo Credit: Savannah Ward

1. “What year are you?”

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and come across this question on a registration form or if your teacher asks for a show of hands. Other times you’ll find yourself in the awkward one-on-one small talk where you’re attempting to explain the fifth category. Bonus points for anyone who can come up with a less embarrassing term than “super senior.” 

2. Taking graduation pictures

Nothing makes you feel more like an outsider than borrowing your roommate’s cap and gown to pose next to your authentically excited friends while you try to pretend you aren't seven months early. Of course, waiting until you get your own cap and gown in October is also an option; you may even have the same weather as May graduates if you live in North Carolina. Pro tip: It may not offset the cost of your extra semester’s tuition, but at least you’ll save on stamps by sending out announcements along with your family’s Christmas card!

3. Trying to relate to your postgrad friends

Things will undoubtedly change when the majority of your friends graduate before you. Not only will their 8-5 days be misaligned with your class schedule, but you’ll also have a way harder time trying to convince them to go to the bar with you on a Wednesday night. When you do finally find the time to catch up, the conversations will consist of them talking about coworkers and office printer while you're still complaining about your teacher that takes mandatory attendance.

4. “I thought you graduated.”

During the extra semester it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll run into the person who *eye roll* “thought you were a senior last year.” As much as you think you still blend in, there’s apparently still something that prompts people to basically ask what you’re still doing here. I understand the confusion, which is why I took to subtly dropping hints all over social media. However, even my passive aggressive attempts (see below) were unsuccessful. My advice: Try not to be offended by the fact they just assumed you were one of the lucky ones.

Haven't graduated yet!! It's fine, I'm fine, everything's fine

A post shared by Kim Baker (@keeum) on

Cheers to the 7-month countdown!! #gradpicspt1 #senioryearpt2

A post shared by Kim Baker (@keeum) on

5. “What are your plans after graduation?”

To be fair, this question can catch any college student off guard. At this age, I could spend Friday with a friend who’s married and planning kids and Saturday with a friend who falls asleep mid-Cook Out tray after a night of binge drinking. Needless to say, I’m surrounded by people who don’t set reasonable standards for life plans. Good news is that most people don’t expect a legitimate answer to this question, so embrace the fact that you have absolutely no idea or, always a fun one, make something up. Chances are your “plan” will change anyway.