My Experience as a 5th Year Senior

Working full-time and being a full-time student are two things that are not easy to do together. Most people choose to work full-time while being enrolled in a full-time semester because they need one thing. Money. If you’re like me, then choosing to work both full-time and be enrolled in full-time school has set you back a little bit in school. I call myself "the fifth year super senior."

There are many challenges that come with trying to be both a full-time student and employee. I have gone through all the different stages, as well from working the minimum of 32 hours per week, to working more than 40 a week. Freshman year was my year to figure things out in a way. From how many credit hours I felt comfortable taking, to how many hours I felt comfortable with working. Since it was my first year, there were many classes that didn’t get the best grades, and many days where I had to call in sick just because I simply didn’t have time to do all my classwork and go to work.

Sophomore year was where I started to get more into a routine. I had been at my job for about eight months, I had my freshman year under my belt, and I felt a lot more confident. I felt like I didn’t really know what to expect with college going into my freshman year, but now I was ready to take on sophomore year. My only problem I faced throughout my sophomore year was not dealing with work, rather than deciding I wanted to change my major. Everyone will go through that; it’s just part of college.

Junior and senior year have both been frustrating and exciting at the same time. Switching jobs, deciding to travel (because you don’t know what you want to major in anymore), taking part-time classes, and just living life are all common factors in what really helped set me back to my fifth-year senior status. I took off a semester to really “find myself” (I know, super cliché, but it totally worked). It took off all the pressure of having to be enrolled in full-time classes, work full time, and work towards a degree that I might necessarily not want.

Since doing all this, I don’t think I would have done it any other way. Yes, working full time and taking classes full-time might have been hard, but it was something that has been truly so rewarding. It makes you push yourself every day and it makes you a stronger person. It shows you a sense of independence by earning your own money, and a sense of accomplishment by being able to balance class, work, and friends. Overall, if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Don’t let being a fifth year or a super senior get you down. Everyone says to enjoy the time while you’re a student, so take a deep breath, relax, and just know that everything is going to be okay!