Brace yourself, graduation photos are coming. For the majority of college students, this is a happy time to celebrate their release from the reigns of the devil, more commonly referred to as college. For some lucky S.O.B.’s, the post-grad life of Shay Mitchell-level travelling and having jobs like professional puppy cuddler is inching toward reality.
And then there are the super seniors.
After all your friends graduate, you’re blessed enough to see the newest batch of doe-eyed freshmen hit the campus. Those little annoyances like someone asking the professor to clarify what’s on the syllabus hit you ten times harder than they would have if your friends were still in the class with you.
There are times when you just want to scream “JENNY IT’S ON THE FUCKING SYLLABUS,” but then your morals hold you back. The feeling of being on campus is different. What once used to be limitless excitement and wonder is now filled with the overwhelming urge to get classes over with.
The absolute worst thing about staying an extra year or two is that it makes you question yourself and your life decisions. The feeling is comparable to a break-up. You feel like you could have made better choices. Questions like, “What if I didn’t change majors?” or “What if chose an easier major?” constantly fill your head. Your friends are moving on and you’re stuck trying to achieve a goal that everyone else has already finished.
You might be asking yourself, Why is this so hard?
I don’t mean to get all Dr. Bettina on your ass, but the root of your anxiety is the feeling of being left behind. It’s what my friends and I call the “compare and despair” syndrome.
The symptoms can be triggered by something as simple as scrolling through your newsfeed. Engagements, promotions, and other major life events are happening to what seems like everyone but you. The process is sadistic, but there’s something addictive about comparing your life with someone else’s. When you have a “win,” like your ex downgrading, it’s a thrilling high. But with every good there’s a bad, and my god are the bad’s bad.
So, from one super senior to another, here’s my advice:
1. Be Petty
So what if everyone from your old high school is graduating? Take pleasure in knowing that some of them will be under-employed and probably moving back home with their parents. FAFSA can only support them for so long. Yeah it’s petty, but it feels so damn good.
2. Relish the Experience
Think of this as a chance to better yourself. As a super senior, you’ve been given an extra year, maybe two, to figure out what you really want to do with your life. Don’t be a “do nothing bitch,” and instead pursue activities that will maximize your chances of surviving post-grad life.
3. Charm Your Way to a Job
Who says you can’t get a “real job” while you’re still in college? What most students don’t know is that getting a job is 70 percent networking/30 percent credentials. That TV show trope where you see the suck-up being promoted is surprisingly realistic. If the bosses like you, you’re in.
I’m not promoting being a suck-up, but rather advocating that you nurture connections in order to pursue your goals. Pretty soon, you’ll be in the same starting position as most recent graduates.
4. Utilize Your Knowledge of Campus
It’s a huge perk knowing where to find guaranteed parking or really good deals. There are limitless resources available on campus, you just have to know where to look. As a super senior, the time is ripe for you to take full advantage of all these lurking perks.
After all you’re basically paying an entire year’s salary to go to this school, so why not suck them dry?
5. Take Advantage of the Financial Aid
There are a select few who are given more financial aid than what they actually need, so use that money to do something memorable! By memorable, I don’t mean investing it or putting it in the retirement fund. What are you, thirty?
While there are benefits to using that money responsibly, wouldn’t you rather blow it on an once-in-a-lifetime trip to South Africa? Maybe it’s the millennial in me talking, but go for it!
After you come back from your government-funded vacation, you’ll have reached your final semester. The complaining and the ranting will all have become a distant memory. You’ll approach graduation day and a montage of your adventures will flash before your eyes. Maybe not that dramatic, but something similar will probably happen.
Before you delve into the final days of your eventual graduation, do something that you’ve always wanted to do. Forgo the consequences! You can ask out that hot T.A. in your differential calculus class, or if you’re extra bold, ask the professor. You can finally tell that ass-kissing Jenny to fuck off after so many years of bottled up frustration. You can even plagiarize a paper! Just kidding, don’t do that.
Being a super senior will make you face your insecurities and hone them into something better. You’ll worry about this only while you’re in school, but once you graduate, no one really cares how long it takes you to finish your degree. Fuck the haters and go through life at your own pace.