An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating on Time
From the very first day we could hold a pencil, one idea has been repeatedly hammered into our heads: go to school, get good grades, go to university, land a job, and live the rest of your life Happily Ever After—as if doing so was the only way to win at life. Nonetheless we followed. Begrudgingly, we admit, it was the most secure path to a brighter future as compared to the uncertainty of the path less trodden. But somewhere somehow, something in your plan regarding this went completely wrong.
An infinite amount of situations could have gone down to push you into the quandary you're in. Maybe you decided to change your major, maybe you ran into some financial trouble, maybe you switched schools, maybe you decided to take some time off to travel the world.
Simply put, life just threw something your way that you were completely unprepared for—and punched you in the face.
Whatever the reason may be, only one thing was for sure—and you heard the words that was basically equal to taking a step back from the fast-paced speed of life like a sick, twisted Monopoly board game.
"You won't graduate on time."
A thousand thoughts course through your head and even more questions flooding your already chaotic mind and suddenly, you find yourself spiralling into miserable uncertainty. Just thinking about the humiliation of telling your friends and family adds to the hopelessness of the situation and you even consider not telling them at all.
"Am I stupid? Am I a failure? What will everyone else think? What will happen to me from here? Will I ever have that career I wanted?"
Suddenly you are flooded with insecurity—almost as if you've been forced to backtrack from your own life. And it sucks.
Suddenly you have to deal with watching your friends march on and accept that diploma without you, or deal with them stressing over course requirements you know nothing about, or you're not getting frustrated over terrible graduation photos, suddenly you're not going to be wearing that graduation cap you were so excited to adorn your head like a crown built for royalty.
Let's get real: that crown is basically equivalent to a medal screaming "I did it! I survived the sleepless nights, the stressful educators, the pummeling requirements, the insane course load etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!"
Almost as if it were taboo, almost as if you've committed a crime, you feel humiliated, broken, perhaps even less of a person.
But who even set a deadline for learning anyway?
Not graduating on time isn't the end of the world. Take all the time you need. You may be a little late, but your career, your whole life, your friends, your family will all still be there. Just because you're going to be taking a few more detours compared to all the others does not mean you're never going to get to where you're supposed to be.
They may be a bit upset at first, but once the initial disappointment settles, they'll be asking you about how your classes are going, how your professors are treating you, and guess what, once you do march across that stage beaming with pride to accept that diploma, they'll be in the crowd cheering louder than anyone else.
Graduation will happen.
If you study hard and pass your classes, that is. In the meantime, enjoy the scenic route of your education. Get to know that terror professor, take that weird elective, volunteer, study abroad, make new friends, embrace new opportunities, accept everything the world has to offer, good or bad, with open arms and an open heart. Take advantage of that. You'll graduate filled with pride and wisdom that supersedes those of whom who graduated before you.
Why are you in such a hurry anyway?
Life in university (or high school) is stressful enough. It takes a lot of mental and emotional fitness and not to mention the countless of hours studying and preparing requirements. Similarly, balancing school with extracurriculars, friends, and family just adds to the strain. Don't add an extra mountain’s worth of pressure on yourself by setting a timer on graduation.
You are NOT a failure. Chill out, mellow down, life goes on.