Why I'm In No Rush To Graduate And I'm Not Ashamed By It

by Shelly Greenstein

Adulthood is hard. Things get real and complicated pretty quickly when you make that transition from worry-free teen to mature grownup.

I always aspired to be a successful person.

I always wanted the Hollywood ending: the nice house, the dog, a couple cute kids, the gorgeous husband who happens to be a scholar and a millionaire, the amazingly affluent career.

I just never knew how hard it would be to achieve those unrealistic goals.

When everyone else in high school was excitedly applying to colleges and working on perfecting their SAT scores, I was going through some heavy soul searching.

I was scared to apply to any of the colleges I wanted to go to because I knew I wouldn't be able to afford it, and the idea of student loans shook me to my very core.

I was just a kid; everything out in the world seemed so intimidating.

I ended up getting into a program abroad in Israel with a full scholarship on a whim. I begged my parents to go along with it, and surprisingly, they let me attend.

I moved to a different country thousands of miles away in an attempt to find myself. In the end, what I found was alcohol and slight feelings of freedom.

The school I attended was extremely orthodox, though, and soon, the feelings of freedom were replaced by judgment and insecurity.

The school made me feel so out of place. They made me think I was a bad seed and I needed to work on myself because I drank wine and spoke to people of the opposite sex.

I became so uncomfortable, I got physically ill.

After many foreign doctors appointments, I booked a flight back home and rushed to my sweet mother's embrace.

I returned home one semester into my freshman year of college with no credits whatsoever.

I didn't know what I was doing at all, so I started part-time substitute teaching kindergarten at a private school.

My parents were worried. I had no goals or ambition.

While everyone else around me was picking their majors, I was picking the dirt off little kids' faces.

My parents forced me to go to community college. It was 20 minutes away from my house, and it was easy. I started with gen-ed classes and took five classes my first semester.

As the semesters went by, my class load dwindled down. I enjoyed it, but was still lost. People started asking me what my aspirations were, and I had no clue how to answer them.

I always loved to write and loved the idea of journalism, but figured it was an out-of-reach dream.

I remained undecided in my major for my first two semesters, and then decided not to continue.

I was working part-time so I could afford school and my car, and my grades were dropping fast. I was so overwhelmed with everything going on around me.

I took off a full semester to work full-time and sort out what it was I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

When I returned to school, I made the bold choice to major in media studies. Finally, I got my associate's degree, and felt as though I had accomplished something.

I got into the four-year school I wanted to get into and started my classes on the right foot.

Only thing was, when I started my official junior year of college, all of my friends from high school were graduating with their bachelor's degrees.

At first, I felt out of place and weird. Why were all of my friends so ahead of me? Did I make a mistake wasting all of that time figuring my sh*t out?

I then realized it was the exact opposite: I was so lucky I wasn't done yet.

I still have a year and a half left of school, but honestly, I wish it were more.

I see all of my friends hunting for jobs and living with real-life problems, while I'm here chilling at home in my parents' house studying for tests and writing papers.

The way to look at my situation is to realize I don't have to think about hardcore life problems just yet.

I do have to have an idea of where I want to be in a year and a half, but I don't have to take action on it yet.

The pressure I thought existed for me was all in my head, and the reality was that the pressure only sinks in when you graduate and everything starts to become real.

Right now, I'm still sorting out my goals and plans on how to achieve them.

I'm dipping my feet in the water when it comes to getting my writing out there.

I'm seeing if certain things are the right things for me, and if they aren't, I still have time to change my mind.

Once you graduate, things are pretty much set in stone, and I am totally not ready for that kind of commitment yet.

I am taking my time when it comes to finishing college because I am in absolutely no rush to grow up, and I am very proud of my decision to do so.

You only live your life once, so take your time. Why hurry through it and miss all the fun?