Photo by Meghan Fuller
Many students take pride in the fact that they can “finish in four” and get out in the real world as soon as possible. As a transfer student, that may not be an opportunity for me, but this is not the worst thing that could happen.
What mostly felt odd was being told that there was a chance that an extra semester was in my future. My siblings both graduated in four years, so the idea of being the only child to not do so was depressing.
The biggest issue was that my general education courses would not transfer over from another school. Suddenly I was classified as a sophomore again despite being in my third year of college.
My Southern Miss advisor made it sound like taking 21 hours of classes each semester was going to be a normal thing, and I was not ready to lose my beautiful hair from stress just yet. However, getting to know people on campus gave me a new perspective on an extra semester.
Since starting this year, an extra semester has seemed like a pretty common thing. I have realized there are quite a lot of people who have to enroll in an extra semester or even in an extra year of school.
There have been some benefits that come with taking an extra semester. Over the summer, I decided I might change my minor to graphic design. That decision could be possible with an extra semester.
Focusing on finishing my general education classes and minor seems possible. After this complete year, I will likely be done with my major. A few online classes may have to be taken, but that is completely doable.
An extra semester is a chance to build a bigger portfolio, too. Working for the newspaper an extra semester gives me the chance to cover events and learn from what is being done incorrectly.
Going to school at a slower pace helps me enjoy the college experience a lot more. If I tried to graduate by next semester, I would need to work extra hard and fill a schedule with classes. Taking it slow means that enjoying the last year of school is actually possible.
An extra semester also adds the possibility of doing an internship for class credit. Internships are good on their own, but the chance to shorten the last semester a bit more is huge. If the internship is during my last semester, it adds the possibility of being hired by the organization that I am interning with.
Getting to spend time with my friends before we all go our separate ways is a plus. Also having the chance to see nearly all my friends every day before this big change is the icing on the cake of an extra semester.
Honestly, an extra semester or even an extra year seems like no problem in 2019. It seems more and more common for people to take longer than four years to finish college. The fact that I will have a degree is a huge accomplishment on its own, no matter how long it takes to get it.