“Weren’t you supposed to graduate?”
“Don’t you feel weird hanging out with kids five years younger than you?”
“Why are you still here?”
You’re going to hear these questions a lot over the next few months, and they’re going to make you feel a bit like crap. While all your classmates are getting job offers, moving out of their parents’ house, and complaining about their 9 to 5, it’s natural to feel a bit like you’re falling behind.
Who said undergrad had to be completed in four years? Being the Van Wilder of your campus on your victory lap isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Don’t believe us? For one, they wouldn’t call it a “super senior” if it wasn’t super.
1. You’re not alone
Rolling up to campus for a fifth year might feel like a lonely venture, but it’s way more common than you’d think. Forbes reported in 2013 that 49% of students enrolled at a school listed as one of “America’s Top Colleges” will graduate on time. Just barely, but that’s less than half! You probably don’t have to look far to find a fellow super senior to bond with.
2. Another summer
While the rest of your class is sweating in suits at their office without a window, you get one more shot at enjoying the sunshine for three months. You can keep your chill summer job and hang out at your favorite hometown spots before saying goodbye to Monday through Friday.
3. Flexible class schedule
Guess what? You get first pick of classes! If you know you like sleeping late, you can make sure you sign up for night classes. If you want to pick a professor you’ve had before, you can easily claim a seat in their class. If you have an on-campus job, you can make sure your courses don’t interfere with prime shifts. You prayed for this since freshman year, and now you get to take full advantage.
4. You’ll learn from others’ mistakes
Right out of college, your friends are going to be a little lost. They’ll take the first position offered to them. They’ll move to cities where they know no one. They’ll realize they don’t even like the field they majored in. Keep in touch with them and by the time you graduate, you’ll have a sea of people you can look to for advice on conquering the real world.
5. One more year of everything you love
You get what others would kill for – another year of making memories before getting shipped off into the real world. Homecoming, Thursday nights at your favorite bar, endless meals at the dining hall, living in the same town as your friends, football games – you get to do all these things again.
6. Better relationships with your professors
By now, you’ve probably had a professor in your program that you’ve developed a relationship with. If not, you still have time. Visit them during office hours, help them after class, or make them your internship adviser. You need to create professional relationships that will benefit you when it comes time for those pesky job references and maybe even beyond.
7. You’ve already seen it all
If you’ve seen National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (which you probably have because Ryan Reynolds is in it), you might remember when the super x7 senior tells a freshman, “You know what I’ve learned in my seven years here at Coolidge? I’ve learned that you can’t treat every situation as a life-and-death matter, because you’ll die a lot of times.”
You’ve already seen (and survived) it all, from the freshman 25 and an 8 am class with an awful professor to changing majors and failing a class. Nothing can phase you this year.
8. Student discounts
Another year of free soda at Chipotle and discounted tickets at the movies? Yes, please. These student discounts should have you feeling better about your fifth-year status.
9. Another year wiser
You will be totally different in a year. You will make different decisions and want different things. You’ll also be fully prepared for your job interviews, have another internship or summer job under your belt, and get advice from tons of friends who are recent grads. As long as you don’t waste this year, writing it off as a complete joke, you’re set to succeed.