Embarrassed or ashamed are certainly not two words you’d associate with going to university. At times (a lot of times) this is how I’ve felt. Not because I feel that getting an education is something to be ashamed about. On the contrary I indulge in the vast knowledge you immerse yourself in. The problem for me is that I am 26 and I’m now just about to graduate with my bachelor’s degree.
You may say to yourself “Oh no worries, a lot of people get their bachelors later in life.” Yes, that’s great but in my case I have been attending college since the fall of 2007. It has taken me 8 years to get my bachelor’s. Most people that I know are either well into their careers or even already have their master’s degree. It makes me feel like I somehow have failed.
The worst for me was when I ran into people I knew and they’d ask if I graduated already; my palms start to get sweaty. I once again state in a meek voice “Well, no not yet, almost there.” They are absolutely judging me is all my brain tells me. In my despair I explain to them how I took some time off or that I haven’t really been going full time so it’s taking me longer. For the most part I am making these excuses up because I am embarrassed. The real reason is that when I first started college I don’t honestly think I was ready for that commitment. I figured this is what is expected of me. This is the path I have to follow right away. I did start off very well at a community college. After my third semester that’s when I got a bit lazy. First off I started as an architect major, it proved to not be what I wanted to do at all. With no plan b, I began to falter. Second, I wanted to experience the college lifestyle everyone gloated about “Oh it’s going to be the best time of your life blah blah blah.” I wasn’t feeling that way so I set out to find it. Long story short, going out/doing whatever I wanted became my priority, not my studies. This newly found freedom engulfed me. And so my journey of growing up began.
But now that I’m 26, graduating in December, I’m tired of being embarrassed. I have finally come to realize that yes it took me longer than usual. I had no idea what I wanted to do and that’s ok. It feels so liberating to not have such a silly burden. Would it have been great to already have my career path somewhat carved out? Yes but I can’t dwell on that anymore. What is most important is that I persevered even when I thought many times that I wasn’t capable of achieving this goal. I believe this speaks to many people not only in respect to furthering their education but with their life goals in general. Don’t ever feel pressured to be part of the norm, to have to achieve your dreams in the time set that society expects you too. Some of us just take a bit more time than others.