Syllabus week icebreakers felt bittersweet and awkward this semester.
I wasn’t able to graduate in four years. Now, I’m a super senior.
My first senior year was a rocky road. Dropping classes to reserve more time for a management job set me back.School should always come first. Anxiety and hearing a man tried to violently mug my brother on State Street near UW-Madison didn’t help. Those next several months, I barely stayed afloat.
Long story short, I missed a few deadlines and had unresolved requirements for a May 2018 graduation.
Being the oldest student in most classes isn’t a bad thing, but it’s hard not to feel behind the curve. Especially when many of the people you’d gotten to know are working full-time while you’re finishing up your degree and still on the job hunt.
But comparing oneself to others is destructive. Whether it takes four years or nine, we’re all just trying to get an education and live our best lives. You shouldn’t put a time stamp on that. My beloved brother turns 25 this month, and he’s still working on a degree. There’s no shame in slow, steady progress.
Super seniors eyeing December graduation dates face unique challenges, such as finding a temporary home. I ended up having to buckle down and pay for a year-long lease.
You’re also expected to be an expert in class and the workplace, being seen as “the adult in the room.” It’s a strange feeling, and it’s important to remember we can all learn from each other.
Despite the awkward aspects of being a super senior, it’s also rewarding. Being able to spend one final, bittersweet semester with talented colleagues, my wonderful girlfriend and close friends still working on their degrees is a perk.
To my fellow super seniors: You’ll get to the finish line eventually. And you’ll be glad you squeezed the extra time out of the college experience.