A once rare creature on college campuses, the super senior has become a new strain of student.
Every year, it seems more and more seniors spend more than four years in college because of switched majors, dropped classes, and even bad advising. In a few weeks, I’ll officially be a super senior and I’ll be handing out party hats.
Being a fifth-year college student makes me want to jump up and down and cry at the same time. While this year’s graduates will be looking back on the memories they made in college, I will still be here making new ones. I’m going to have an extra best year of my life. I’m going to miss my graduating friends more than I can grasp at the moment, but I won’t have to miss college too – at least not yet.
I definitely won’t be alone next year either. I adore my younger friends and I look forward to spending time with them during their senior years as they take classes like interpretive dance and beginner’s tennis.
I can help them choreograph their interpretive dance solos while working my tail off trying to graduate before my father has a disappointment-induced heart attack.
Speaking of my father, my parents tell me every day how proud they are of me and how well I have performed in school. But I can’t help but somewhat feel like a failure.
Why didn’t I stick with my original major? Why did I drop that class? How could I have done better?
While I ask myself these questions about my mistakes, I also wonder if they were mistakes at all. I’m going to be in college longer than I had planned because I wanted to do what was right for me. I wanted to be happy. Now I can be.
I can continue to live a life that exempts me from waking up to go to work at 8 a.m. every day. I can go to class looking as disheveled as possible without getting fired from my would-be job. Not to mention all the fun I’m going to continue having with my fellow Owls.
Even with the upside staring me in the face, I just can’t seem to completely ignore the negatives about missing my original graduation date. My pool of stress deepened throughout college. I was looking forward to this May because I figured I’d be saying “sayonara” to most of that stress. No cigar.
At the same time, I should stop being a drama queen and enjoy my college “stress.” My life is probably more relaxed and carefree now than it will ever be again.
These minor qualms over becoming a super senior are nothing compared to the all-consuming disease called senioritis.
This horrific condition that has been eating my study skills and sleeping habits alive for at least three years is only going to get worse. Graduation is the cure, but I’m twiddling my thumbs in the waiting room. The waiting room just happens to be college – the most fun place I’ve ever been.
To put it plainly, maybe super seniors are screwed. Maybe we’re blessed. Yes, I want to walk in my cap and gown in a few weeks next to the people I’ve loved for four years. Yes, I want to name myself as part of the class of 2007. But I also love college, and the last four years have been a blast.
In the end, if I had the chance to graduate on time, and 30 years from now someone asked me if I would have wanted to stay in college a bit longer, I think I’d say, “Hell yeah. I miss college. It was the best time of my life.”
Kathleen Hager can be reached at