Swamp Talk: The Myth of the Four-Year College Experience

By Amanda Cohen

As another graduation ceremony creeps up on us and I watch my younger friends move on to the next phase in their life, it’s easy to grow frustrated, diminish my feats and compare myself to them. As humans, we get a certain pleasure from idealizing great achievements so as to make them seem more dramatic and the achievers seem more heroic.

I came to UF in the fall of 2008 expecting to spend, at most, four years in college. After taking a year off in 2010 and withdrawing from two semesters midway, I expect to graduate in May 2014. What I have to keep reminding myself is no one can dictate what your pace ‘should’ be or where you ‘should’ be at in life. It’s up to you, and the more you can own that responsibility, the more you can master the art of individuality and sharing your own experiences with the world.

College is an inner journey that’s highly personal to you and its okay to stay until you are ready to leave. You aren’t as much of a black sheep as you think you are. According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60 percent of students graduate in six years. So slow down. Make this moment last. 

What has your college experience been like thus far? Let us know by commenting below!

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