Original article published in Elite Daily.
When you look back at it, weren’t those six years of college the best years of your life? Wait, six years?! What ever happened to the good old four years that rivaled your high school tenure? The answer to this question, and many others, can be found in the simple fact: no one is graduating in four years anymore.
That is a pretty bold statement. One that I am sure I can bore you with a multitude of facts and statistics with. The truth is we are about half and half on the whole ”graduating on time” nonsense. These baby boomers had no problem wrapping it up in four years, and they had wars! Why us?
For centuries, outside of a little old fable about some tortoise and some hare, taking your time hasn’t been viewed as effective as it actually is. This is the age of tablets, social media, and even some high speed Internet. We ARE high speed. No one truly has time to sit and think about their decisions and the repercussions that they yield. It is all about the now, and the later will be dealt with when it becomes the now, while the now becomes the forgotten.
Theories and prose aside, this all goes out the window the moment the world ”college” or ”university” comes into view. And it isn’t even hard to see why. As a 17 year old, all I remember about the college experience was how much I was going to owe at the end of the ride.
This is the first big step for anyone to a very strings attached freedom. Your success is based on yourself in this setting. Don’t want to go to class? That’s fine. Want to party and sleep around your first few semesters? That’s cool. Spending hours upon hours holed up in a dilapidated campus library to study? Hey it’s your prerogative. But also, this is where the story splits.
With college comes responsibility. But, it also has those strings that I mentioned above. This isn’t the booming economy any of us vaguely remember as we grasped at Fruit Rollups and went on abundant vacations in. This is the theorized wasteland of Keynes, where Big Business has turned the job market into a desert, with no oasis in sight.
Maybe, this is an escape for us. The one last road stop that has decent food, a warm bed, and a self-sustained economy where no one is really rich, and no one is exceptionally poor. It’s not fun out there, and what’s wrong with spending a couple of more years roaming the vestibules hoping to find the ”sure thing” that’s next? Nothing.
We could also be becoming smarter, looking at our options and hoping to jump into the best situation granted for us. Instead of figuring out that mercurial major during your second year, there is no harm in trying one out for two years, finally setting on your one true career choice. This could easily lead to less nine to five cul-de-sac’s of unstimulating activity. Sometimes it is easier to plan a roadmap of where to go, rather than head out naked into the untested tundra of tomorrow.
Whatever the reason may be, higher education is changing. The settled foundations of what our families, society and we, as a whole, have known, will never be what it was. And that is OK. Whether it’s fear, courage, stupidity or a Long Island iced tea mix of the three, maybe four years to figure out your life just doesn’t cut it anymore. Time to move past the myth, and get comfortable with the reality.
Ali Abouomar | Elite.