Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Academics

My Whole Friend Group Is Graduating — I’m Not

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

On Friday evening, my friends and I piled into the apartment living room, as usual, to get ready. We had done this countless times before, but something felt different. As I looked around the room, I felt displaced for a moment, as if my friends were the beloved cast of a show in its final season.

I know change is incredibly necessary, but this change has been insanely bittersweet. For the first time in my life, I have started to miss a chapter that hasn’t even come completely to a close yet. I suddenly feel an immense pressure to go out on a high note for all of the time we lost during our freshman and sophomore years, tainted by COVID-19. 

We sat around recounting stories and memories, in pure disbelief we only had four weeks until the end of the semester. Not long ago, we were bubbly freshmen amazed at the college experiences that lay on the horizon. Now on the other side, we can joke about all the obstacles we overcame and the relationships we swore were going to last. 

Mid-conversation a thought popped into my head, “Where will we all be a year from now?” and I gave myself a moment to ponder. All of us have taken very different approaches to succeed in our respective goals. 

One friend graduated a year early and is already almost a year into her post-grad career. Three are excited to start grad school in the fall and get one step closer to their dream jobs. One just accepted a major job offer.

Then there’s me, graduating in 2024. Instead of graduating early, I chose to add on an additional Bachelor’s degree, leaving me to miss out on group graduation photoshoots and stay in the same place while the others truly advance to the real world.

I was honored and amazed to be in a room with so many Black women who are undoubtedly getting everything we desired because we put in the work. It’s amazing to know that wherever we all end up, we’re doing us. But at the same time, there lies the uncertainty of the big questions that lie ahead.

For many college women, the completion of a degree signals a transition to the next phase of womanhood. Soon to no longer be a student, one can’t help but think about their future identity. 

It can be intimidating to think about what kind of life you want to build for yourself outside of the goal you were laser-focused on for as long as you can remember. 

In the car, my friend asks me, “Who’s getting married first?” What was once a silly hypothetical holds more weight. We’re all 22 approaching 23. Statistically, one of us will be walking down the aisle in the next few years. Not only are we leaving college, but embracing the reality of a change in identity from a single college girl to one possibly striving to be a wife, partner or mother. 

We’re at the top of the hill soaking up the view for now. But once you reach the top, it’s time to climb another in order to grow.

Taya Coates is a senior studying fashion merchandising and minoring in journalism. She hopes to pursue a career as a fashion editor and eventually start her own publication. She is passionate about covering stories on style, social activism, and culture.