Fresh out of high school, we are told one story. Your undergraduate degree will take four years, and that is that. For all those who have disrupted this ideal or are thinking about it, this one’s for you.
The benefits of extending your degree:
1. Work during school: If you’re like me and have had to front the majority of your tuition, working part-time throughout your degree is a great option. I know many students who have worked part-time throughout their degree just to survive. And that is ok. No one should be shamed for tacking on extra years to avoid overwhelming student debt.
No one should be shamed for tacking on extra years to avoid overwhelming student debt.
2. Time to decide: It is tough knowing what you want to study until you actually start studying it. At that point, you have committed to a program and may feel stuck. Thousands of students have transferred programs and ended up discovering a new passion. Extending your degree to try out different classes, or even taking a semester off, can be one of many ways to establish what you are really interested in.
3. Explore extracurricular activities: With school work and a dwindling social life, it may be hard to pursue extracurricular activities. Some may find it overwhelming to seek out volunteer opportunities, sports teams or student groups while maintaining a full course load. Reducing your course load can be a way to participate in these activities without giving up on your social life or GPA. Demonstrating initiative and volunteerism while picking up tangible skills such as teamwork and leadership through these activities will improve your job prospects more over being able to say you completed your degree in four years.
Demonstrating initiative and volunteerism while picking up tangible skills will improve your job prospects.
4. Participate in co-op programs: Being able to complete work terms throughout your degree may add on an extra year or so, but you will be happy you did. Graduating with some work experience will definitely give you an edge in the “real world.” It is also a way to get a taste of your field and whether or not your area of work is still an interest to you. There are lots of benefits of being a student and being able to access student jobs is one of them. And of course, having more money coming in while you’re in school is never a bad thing either.
5. GPA booster: If you find that you can no longer juggle work, school, volunteering, social groups and a perfect GPA, you can always consider reducing your course load or taking a semester off. If you need to maintain a certain GPA but find that you just can’t do it all, consider these options for the sake of your well-being. Mental health and self-care are really important things to consider whilst navigating your degree.
University is a mixed bag. No need to be ashamed for taking longer to finish your degree. It is not a race to finish, but a journey to enjoy and discover.
Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and viewpoints of current Arts students. Through their posts, you’ll experience the creativity and passion of our students as they present glimpses into student life. The views and opinions expressed within these posts are solely those of the authors.