Ask Iman: Super senior sorrow

Hi Iman,

I realized I have to take five years to finish my degree and I am so embarrassed. Is it really ok to take longer than four to graduate?

It’s totally normal to take more than four years to complete your degree! Things come up — work, life, maybe you changed your major once or twice, maybe you had to prioritize your health — and even if nothing came up, that’s ok, too!

There’s no shame in taking longer to graduate, no matter the reason. Co-op? Cool. Wanted to chill for a bit? Sick. Needed to take time off to deal with some personal things? I’m glad you did!

I can guarantee you that you won’t care that you graduated “late” five months, let alone five years after graduation. I know, I know that “LiFe iSn’T a rAcE, iT’s aBoUt tHe jOuRnEy” stuff is annoying when it seems like everyone is getting the hell out of UBC and suddenly working in client acquisition at Deloitte, but it’s the truth. You’re your own worst critic and it does no one any good comparing yourself to others — everyone’s situations are different and everyone does things at their own pace.

Give yourself some grace and understand that it’s not that deep even though it might seem like it is. How long you take to graduate doesn’t define you, and way fewer people graduate in four years than you think. But again, who cares about that anyway?

When your first-year RA tells you and your roommate that “five is the new four,” they aren’t lying — fewer people graduate in four years than you think (and the graduation data proves it), so don’t stress out. No one really questions your graduation timeline, and if someone does and clowns you for taking an extra year (or two, or three) they’re being weird.

A very famous tortoise (Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda) once said “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it’s called the present.” Enjoy the time you have left at UBC, it’ll be over before you know it.

You’re doing great. Keep it up!

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