I’m on my fifth year of college; I’m still here.
To be frank, it was my own decision. I applied to the LIA-COM program, where two degrees—one under the College of Liberal Arts and the other under the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business—will be completed in a span of five years. I am currently taking up Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts and Bachelor of Science in Advertising Management, which requires one to endure a combined 284 units. This adds up to a total of 16 terms which would take five years and an extra term for thesis and practicum to complete, way longer than the usual three-year programs offered by DLSU.
Meanwhile, others may stay longer for different reasons: shifting to a different degree, failing a subject, or opting to extend for another term. Whatever it may be, staying in college longer than others can make you wish that you could fast forward and finally be handed the exit ticket you’ve been longing for—a diploma. With one, you can finally get a job and earn money for yourself. At least for me, this is true.
It isn’t a choice I regret, but there are definitely days where I wanted to graduate and finally be over with college life. The hard exams, multiple breakdowns, and countless all-nighters really make college difficult.
And let’s not forget about the added pressure from seeing people wear togas during their recognition rites and commencement exercises, witnessing batchmates who took up other degrees graduate first, and hearing relatives ask me when I will complete my studies while they celebrate my cousin’s first job. All the pressure made me want to finish college sooner.
But this is where I got it all wrong.
I only have a year left, which may seem to be a relief at first, but I later realized that I only have a year left. A year left of constantly seeing my college friends, a year left of joining multiple organizations that bring out the best in me, and a year left of learning from the different subjects I love. I was looking at college the wrong way; in my desire to just get it over with, I failed to appreciate the finer things—the things I could only look back on once I enter the “real world”.
Recently, I was able to talk with my friends who have already graduated and are now actively seeking employment. A common thing they told me was that I should enjoy what’s left of college because the real world is a lot worse. They longed to return, restart, and relive their college lives —while I stood there, longing to get out. Focusing too much on wanting to enjoy the future made me unable to appreciate what’s still in front of me. Once I saw that there are people who would want to switch places made me realize that there is no need for us to rush.
We must accept that there’s no harm in staying in college longer than others. We move at our own pace; we set our own finish lines. Whatever we do is for our own growth and success, so why should we pressure ourselves too much when we can instead enjoy the experience before we move on to the next phase of our lives?
I’m glad I chose to stay longer in college. It’s an experience I will never forget, and I’m glad that I can still say that I’m still here.