It's Okay to Not Graduate "On Time"

At the end of my first year of college, I was at another school, already prepared to transfer to WCU. I experienced the most disappointment I ever felt when I found out that my credits would not all transfer, and I would need to be in college for an extra year. I went to every department head and tried to appeal every single credit that was not accepted. My first few months spent here at WCU were in department offices almost every other day. It took months for me to stop and deal with my new reality. I felt like such a failure, and I thought I was letting my parents down, and even my Indian community for not achieving their standards when it came to education. I got worried about the extra loans I would have to take out for another year.

 

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Flash forward to the month I am supposed to be graduating. I see countless photos of my friends from high school with their graduation caps, posts about new jobs, and finally moving on with their lives. I felt stuck for such a long time. I knew there was nothing I could do, but I was not ready to accept that yet. It was not until I saw a statistic on social media one day that said only about one-third of college students graduate in four years. It blew my mind when I considered that! I was not the only one, and that lifted that disappointing feeling immediately. 

At the end of high school, we all set out to college on the same level. At some point, we all chose our majors, and our paths began to split. It does not matter if my friends graduate and I did not (yet). Who is to say that graduating in four years is the only major accomplishment? Getting your degree is the accomplishment, no matter how long that takes! There is no more competition! Some programs can be three, five, or even six or seven years. Who cares if you graduated ten years later, or twenty? I realized that I was the only one that cared! I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. It can be faith, destiny, or whatever you call it, but something in the universe said better things can come my way if I graduate on my schedule. Even then, we do not need to abide by terms like “on time” and “later”. It took me a long time to realize that none of this was my fault. I am not the reason my credits didn’t transfer, it is just the way it worked out. It is hard knowing you cannot control certain things, but it is a freeing feeling to accept it and make the situation better for yourself. So, if you find yourself in the same boat as me, know that you are not alone, and your path is your unique path for a special reason. Looking back, I feel for my classmates who had to graduate during the pandemic, but I am glad I get my shot at the end of this school year. I do not look at 2020 as the year I was supposed to graduate anymore; I look forward to 2021 when I can say I finally made it!

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