It only took me 13 years to finally graduate. I know I’m not the only one.

Growing up, we idealize the goal of graduating high school and smoothly transitioning to a university where a well-thought-out major has been carefully selected.

You were likely advised by school counselors and parents to follow a well-thought out plan for a four-year education, which would then lead you to a smooth graduation.

NICOLE GOSS | THE POLY POST

Yet here I am, one of many who intended, prepared, imagined and hungered for the smooth college transition, but life has its ways of taking charge and directing you differently.

Everyone will experience his/her own road to success, with life ventures that mold them along the way.

As for my lengthy college career, I grew up quickly, married young, had a daughter and only took a few courses at a time till I could accomplish full-time units.

Life happens and time slips away and before you know it, graduation day is approaching and you realize it’s been more than the four years you had originally intended to take.

For whatever purpose, you have taken on this lengthy journey just say, “Oh well, it took forever but I did it.”

I strongly believe that an education can be fulfilled at any age and by any length of time, although your wallet will feel the difference between short and long-term.

As a transfer student, I learned along the way that the rate of students graduating and transferring from community college would at times be prolonged because not everyone knew what major they wanted to pursue.

Many students would venture on a tasting of careers till they found the right choice and only then would you see their desire to transfer take over.

A longing for the day they too would receive an acceptance letter from a university would inevitably cause them to refresh their inbox multiple times and greet the mail carrier daily (I speak from experience).

But if you were one of the fortunate students that grew up knowing exactly what s/he was destined to do and had no life diversions, then you have struck gold.

You saved yourself from countless semesters of credited units that are now happily listed at the bottom of your student portal, casually causing you to reminisce on the money and time once spent.

My first transfer year I walked the campus countless times thinking I was the only student pursuing a degree for more than the expected years.

In time, it was clear that many students had life plans postponed because of personal circumstances that caused them to also feel alone on their extended journey.

The setback was that no one ever spoke about the subject in a school of over 24,314 students. I longed for someone to share a similar story.

You see whatever age you are, the number of careers you have attempted, or whatever amount of time it has taken you to get to this point of your college endeavors truthfully does not matter.

Just finish. It only took me 13 years.

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