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.