Marble Pedestal: Taking five years to do your degree

It's better to take the time to make yourself a more fully-formed person

If first-year Sofia could see me now, I don’t know what she’d think. She’d probably question how I could ever sit through a philosophy seminar, or why I dress like a librarian, or why I’ve spent more hours at The Gateway office than I have at my own apartment. Most of all, she’d probably judge me for not graduating at the end of this year.

First-year Sofia had it all mapped out: honours science, graduating in four years, eventually getting a PhD. And that’s fair; first-year Sofia was a different person than fourth-year Sofia. The thing is, I don’t think I’d be the person I am right now if I hadn’t taken the time to figure myself (or at least the current iteration of myself) out. For me, that meant making the decision to extend my degree by a year.

I know it’s not uncommon; it seems half the people I meet these days are taking five years, or even longer, to finish their undergrad. But to me, it felt like a big decision. Why choose to stay here for another year when I could move into the “real world”? Well, right now, this is my world, and by extending my degree, I’ve been able to make it a place I want to stay in.

If I hadn’t decided to take five years, I wouldn’t have been able to work at The Gateway almost full time for the last three years. I wouldn’t have been able to experiment with courses outside my original major that sounded interesting to me — like creative writing and environmental ethics — and I wouldn’t have been able to realize that they’re what I really want to pursue. I wouldn’t have been able to change my major so many times, to study abroad or do research. I would’ve been done university quicker, but I would be heading out into the post-university world as a much less fully-formed person.

So here’s to taking the time to figure things out, to trying anything and everything that piques your interest, and to not being afraid to take a different path than the one you expected.

Sofia Osborne

Sofia is a fourth-year English major with a minor in philosophy. She's been writing for The Gateway since the first day of her first year because she wants to be Rory Gilmore when she grows up. Now, she's the Managing Editor and is in charge of the print magazine.

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