I always imagined myself accepting my degree in the usual month of May. I never would have guessed that I would actually be graduating in December, sandwiched in the middle of the academic year. Graduating in December can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how a student perceives it and how they arrived at that point.
What happened in my situation were a series of detours along the road of my college career, which ultimately led to this final semester. As for me, I see graduating in December as an advantage, especially considering the road that lies ahead.
I’m one of the last to graduate of my friends. Watching my friends graduate before me has been unnerving because I have watched them rigorously search for jobs with no luck. In some cases, they’ve defaulted to graduate school. If I had graduated last May, I would be OK. I’d have most of the same experiences that I have presently but not the extra time to understand what to do with these pieces. Having this extra semester of college has given me the opportunity, as well as extra time, to consider how to apply these experiences toward my job-search strategy.
Added time for reflection is not the only benefit I’ve discovered. Graduating later also provides the opportunity to get a leg up on those who graduate in May. Simply put, not as many people graduate in December, and this implies less competition for finding a job once pushed from the nest of higher education.
Having an extra semester also provides the chance to enjoy the simple college takeaways that I won’t get back again — things that my friends who already have full-time jobs don’t get to indulge in. Sleeping later during the week and wearing sweatpants all day does not necessarily fit into their five-day work week.
There is no superior time of the year to graduate. What truly matters is that one graduates. Then, and only then, can a student have the rewarding experience of telling themselves in May — or December — “Congratulations, you earned a degree.”