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I’m Graduating Late, and That is OK

Today’s schooling system makes everyone believe that right after you graduate high school, you pack up and move away to college to be there for four years. You then graduate college and immediately transition to a “big girl” job and begin your adult life. That may be the case for some people, and to those people I commend. However, for many people finishing college in four years is not possible. 

    Throughout high school, I struggled to find an area of study that I was passionate about. Every option that was suggested to me did nothing but make me feel stressed out and anxious for the future. The lack of direction and goals I had for my life made it very difficult to try my hardest and do well in school. Eventually, I settled on a “dream” of becoming a teacher but never truly believed myself when I would talk about it. So I graduated high school with a GPA that I am less than proud of and began school at a community college. I studied my little butt off and finished my first year there with a 3.5 GPA. I am thankful for my experience at community college because it allowed me to dip my toe into the college lifestyle and it forced me to create a work ethic that was missing during my high school years. While going to community college for the first year after high school was not my first choice, it was ultimately beneficial. I then transferred to William Paterson University which is where I plan to finish my education no matter how long that may take. 

    Upon transferring to WPU, I was enrolled as an early childhood education major with a double major in English. This was my original career path that I chose because I had a lot of experience working in daycares and believed that it was all I was capable of doing. While going through classes in the education field, I found my self bored and slipping back into the bad habits I had practiced in high school. So, I figured it was time for a change. I decided to change my major to Communications with a focus in Broadcast Journalism without even researching the topic. I then learned that this major was for people who want a future in news casting and in front of the camera attention… which is not my thing. I signed up and took an introduction to communications class which helped educate me further on the different areas of communication, which brought me to the realization that majoring in communications with a focus on media production is what I am meant to do with my skill set. This major has helped me learn ways to produce content that I am proud of and helped teach me the science behind making successful media. Although, because of my many major changes and transferring schools, my graduation date has been set back. 

But that is OK. 

    The amount of pressure that is put on college students to graduate in the allotted 4 years can be very overwhelming to some, and may even cause students to feel as though they are failures in what they have achieved. However, it is vital to remember that not everyone can fit the “cookie cutter” idea of a student that today’s society has created. Everyone’s journey is different and will take different times. Some students graduate early, some “on time” and some take a little longer than expected. It all depends on where your path is leading you. If you are struggling to finish a degree that you are not passionate about, it may mean that it’s not what you are meant to do and that is okay, because college provides so many easy ways to explore new areas of life and find what you are TRULY passionate about.  There are so many different and broad majors and minors that it’s almost impossible to not fall in love with some aspect of your education.

    It’s easy to get upset about the fact that a four year degree may take you longer than four years, but it’s important to remember that being able to go to college and receive a degree (eventually) is a blessing. Everything will work out the way that it is supposed to for you, you will graduate, and you will end up in a career that is the one you could not see yourself happier in. Just listen to yourself and what you gut is telling you. This journey is a part of life where you truly do get to be selfish and pick a degree path that is for y o u not your parents, not what you think will get you a lot of money, something that you can truly see yourself doing happily for the rest of your working life. 

Julia is a communications major from William Paterson University who has always had a passion for writing.
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