How To Deal With Not Graduating On Time

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Imagine this. You walk into your advising appointment ready to make your schedule for the next semester. You’re GPA is looking nice. You passed the class with that one professor that’s been out to get you from day one. You have all of your classes picked out. You’ve even written a plan A and B just in case your first options are full. Then your advisor tells you won’t be able to graduate on time. You sit there trying to make it through the remainder of the appointment, holding back tears and thinking why couldn’t you make it out on time like you were supposed to? Now you have to tell your family and hope they don’t have a conniption. Telling your friends you won’t be graduating with them will only make it worse. Trust me, I know.

Taking more than four years to finish college isn’t something that’s unheard of. According to a report from Complete College America, only 19% of full-time students earn their bachelor’s degree in four years at most public universities. Only 50 of more than 580 public four-year institutions graduate majority of their full-time students on time. Things happen. You may have changed your major or added a minor. You may have run into some financial issues. Maybe you failed a class or two or three. You may have taken some time off. Maybe you transferred schools. Simply put, life caught you off guard and clocked you in the face.

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I won’t even lie. During graduation season you’ll feel some type of way. You’ll be happy that your friends and classmates are graduating, but sad because you’re not. Instagram and Facebook will be full of graduation pictures and announcements. You may get an email from your university about applying for graduation. All of this will only remind you that you won’t be graduating yet. You have to use those moments to fuel yourself. Remember that can and will graduate even if it takes an extra year or two.

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People will ask you when you’re graduating or how long you’ve been in school and you’ll feel embarrassed by your answer, answer them anyway. College is hard. There’s exam after exam, presentations, papers, impossible instructors, and those foolish group projects all while having to deal with the issues of everyday life. You can’t be so hard on yourself for not graduating on time. You just need more time and there really is no deadline for finishing college

So as graduation season slowly creeps upon us, try to remember that not graduating on time is not the end of the world and you are truly not the only one this has happened to. Your time to show off your flawless graduation photos and excessively decorate your graduation cap will come. The clever Instagram captions and likes will be there when you finally do cross the stage as long as you handle your business in the meantime like a boss. 

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