I may be a part of a small minority, but I don’t exactly want to graduate just yet.
I spent my first year or so at SF State planning my transfer to another school. Like so many others, I realized shortly after moving here that this school didn’t offer enough classes, and more importantly, didn’t offer the college experience that I had expected. I watched my friends at other schools tailgate before football games, make friends with the people in their dorms and overall enjoy their freshman year of college.
I just wasn’t getting any of that. My anxiety and depression were at an all-time high, so within a month or two of coming here, I decided to give up on SF State and look at out-of-state transfer options.
After coming to terms with the harsh reality of out-of-state tuition, I found myself with two options: move home and attend Sacramento State or stick it out in San Francisco. I obviously chose the latter, but decided that something needed to change. Sophomore year I joined Alpha Gamma Delta and it changed everything. I was finally happy with my life, but it was the kind of happy that made me realize I could have been happy this entire time if I had just given this school a chance.
Fast forward to my senior year, I’m surrounded by some of the best people I’ve ever met and I’ve found my place in a school that I was originally drowning in. Still, the looming expectation of graduating in four years was something I felt I needed to meet. I’m the first person in my family to attend college, so it was extremely important to me that my parents, my grandparents and the rest of my family were there to see it.
Not to mention, the thought of being in five years worth of debt versus four was daunting. The five-year plan was never an option in my mind, so I went out of my way to graduate on time by taking winter courses and 19 units for multiple semesters. This meant no time for internships, jobs or much of a social life at times. Here I was again, trying so hard to leave this school, just in a different context.
With two weeks left until graduation, I’m realizing that I’m not as ready for it to end as I thought I would be. I’ve spent so much of my time here waiting to leave that I forgot to appreciate the things I’d be leaving behind.
There are only so many times in my life when going to boring house parties, sharing a tiny bedroom and two twin beds with my best friend and spending too much money on Seniore’s Pizza is considered acceptable. I’m soon going to leave the comfort of being a student and enter the uncertainty of being in the job market. It’s finally time to take all of the knowledge I’ve gained the last four years, from both my classes and my personal experiences, and apply it on my own.
If I could give my 18-year-old self any advice, it would be to take her time. Take advantage of being young. Take advantage of new opportunities and don’t be so quick to write them off if they don’t immediately work out. I would tell her that there is no shame in spending a little extra time in school. Whether it took four years or six years, a bachelor’s degree is still a bachelor’s degree. Don’t let the pressure of graduating as soon as possible outweigh the joys of being in college. You’re only a college kid once, don’t forget to experience it.