One of my closest friends from high school and community college shared the following link on Facebook titled “ An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time” which made me think about my time at Santa Monica College and at UCLA. The article touches on the idea that taking longer to graduate is something that should not discourage an individual because graduating from college is already a great accomplishment no matter how long it takes.
In “An Open Letter To Those Not Graduating On Time” Adams writes, “Soon, you’ll see photos and posts from people you left high school with, talking about graduation and the wonderful lives they are about to begin in their new careers. You’ll wonder how they did it, and you’ll feel like a failure.” This quote resonates with me because I remember when I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I graduated from high school but my friends were heading to places like UCLA, UCI…etc. Three years later, I transferred to UCLA my friends from high school were graduating already. I felt that I was going too slow but I was also proud to know that I was still in higher education and on my way to graduate.
Adams also writes, “Graduation will happen. If you attend your class and study hard, it will happen. There is no reason to rush. Just do your best. Try your hardest. Take classes when you can. Just by doing that, you’re doing more than so many others are able to do.” Now that I am about to graduate, I agree with Adams that one doesn’t need to rush their college career. However, I also feel that nowadays there is a lot of pressure to graduate on time or as fast as one can. I feel that this stems out of the idea that it only takes two years to transfer which is true for some and it only take four years to earn a B.A. I have felt the pressure to graduate on time, and was debating whether or not I should stay. This kind of pressure stressed me out and I felt that I was not at the level of my peers, but there were also other reasons that factored into my decision to graduate on time.
As a first- generation Latina in higher education, I personally feel that I have a huge responsibility in regards to giving back to my family for all of the sacrifices that they have made for me and my siblings. One of the hardest things for me right now is feeling uncertain about what’s next or what direction I should take, since I never thought that I would even make it to a UC. Another thing that I’ve thought about is how expensive it has been to live on or off campus which would be too expensive for me to live here for another quarter.
No matter how long one takes to graduate it will always be an accomplishment like Adams states, but from my experience I feel that myself and maybe others need to graduate sooner than others for many different reasons. I also think that as a collective we need to understand that we are all going at our own individual pace.