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Volume 68, Issue 141, Friday, April 25, 2003

Opinion

Don't stress over graduating

Jermika Bradberry
Opinion Columnist

Last week I felt as if I was having the same conversation over and over again. Several of my friends are really stressed over the same exact issue, yet believe they are the only people in the world that have ever felt that way. If I ever again hear phrases like "Iim just wasting my time" and "Iive been in school for this many years and Iim nowhere near graduating," I think Iim going to pull my hair out. 

The people who think this way are usually more than capable of succeeding. They just require more time to complete their goals. Don't think graduating in four or fewer years is the standard -- itis not. Actually, the ratio of the folks who graduate on time compared to the rest of us is lopsided.

Degree plans are just that -- plans. Of course, everyone tries to finish undergraduate work around four years after high school, but more often than not, life gets in the way. But consciously or unconsciously, as the four-year mark approaches, anxieties levels raise and the tension begins.

Some of that worry is caused by the expectations placed on us by family, friends or some of our peers. However, the bulk of the stress we feel is placed on us by the same person who stares us in the face each morning -- ourselves. We have to draw a line between shooting for the stars and having impractical goals. Set the bar high, but donit get carried away and forget being realistic. But remember, there is no finish line, no race and no reason to compare your progress with that of your peers. Personal and academic success is measured on a personal basis and only occurs once youive set sensible objectives.

Students who finish "on time" deserve praise, but anyone who has decided to take time while pursuing a degree should never feel pressured to rush through classes in attempt to satisfy the expectations of others.

The average college student leads a rather hectic life outside of academic work. Family issues, financial problems and jobs take up considerable amounts of time, and pressure from these areas combined with studying can cause anyone to melt down.

Throwing in unrealistic time expectations will only make things worse. Iive learned that if I keep my mind on the tasks at hand, Iill be better off. Even some of my senior friends have confessed that after graduation they still wonit have a clue about their careers.

Always remember uncertainty can happen at any time, so itis important the choices you make reflect your efforts. Planning for your future is very important, but the best way to ensure prosperity in the long run is to make good, levelheaded decisions for yourself today. 

Bradberry, a junior communication major, can be reached via prettymika05@yahoo.com.

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