Have you ever felt like you were falling behind your peers? Do you ever stop and think that you aren’t doing all the “right” things because people around you seem they have it all together? I am here to assure you that if the answer is yes, you are not alone. I still wrestle with the belief, however irrational, that life operates on a schedule with a relatively uniform sequence of events. We graduate college, get a job, buy a house, start a family, work, and die.
My current dilemma is that I am graduating a semester late and reminded of this fact often. I hear my peers talk about their entrance into the “real world” and sense the invisible divide between us. Not all of them have started their careers—some opted to travel in the months before; others wait to start their graduate programs. The feeling that I was an equal to my class began to dissipate the months leading to graduation. When people asked about my plans after Spring, I joked around and said I was a “late bloomer” because I was set to graduate in Fall. Using my dual degree as an excuse did not seem to lessen the shame I felt. I’ve had plenty of time to think back to my time studying abroad and wonder, “Was that the right move for me?” Past graduates had told me junior year was undeniably the most difficult. Well, not when you are abroad, traveling country to country, and taking your easiest business courses (disclaimer: the ease/difficulty of a class is entirely subjective). To be clear, it was in those 6 months I made the greatest of friends, had the most unforgettable experiences, and fell deeply in love with my forever-home of Spain. The truth of the matter is that I was not the most academically productive. However, when I have any doubts of my decision, I simply let my fond memories flood in.
In my very last semester, I will simultaneously be taking two of the most challenging courses of my college career, and failure to make the grade will result in the deferral of my dual degree. This summer I had originally planned to take one of the two courses to ease the pain of Fall, but my day to day internship schedule would not allow for such flexibility. There will undeniably be benefits of returning to school next year. I will be living with my actual soul-sister in a newly constructed apartment complex. There, she and I will spend countless hours studying, interior designing, and talking (just ask my boyfriend). Upon graduating (with either one or two degrees and hopefully the latter), I will spend the Spring semester studying for the GRE while doing research with faculty members. Then, the rest is up in the air.
Before the summer ends and Fall sweeps in, I want to replace my sneakers for sandals. What do I mean by that, you ask? I want to stop running on this illusive track to “catch up” with others. Instead, I want to take a stroll, like the many I have taken on the beach near my home, and calmly relish in my experiences. I hope you do the same.