Being a first-generation college student is an indescribable pressure. Taking almost double the amount of time to graduate adds to the stress of being a first-gen student. After graduating high school, I knew I wanted to continue school to get a degree. I even knew what I wanted to major in, which many know, can be something that changes a few times in their college career. With that being said, I also knew I didn’t want to be thousands of dollars in debt once I finally finished.
I started working right after my sixteenth birthday, overfilling my plate with responsibility, which shaped me into what I am now. Without wanting to take out student loans, yet being the only provider to fund my schooling, work was always a number one priority. College is expensive, which translates to working a lot of hours.
As the years continued, everyone in my age group began to graduate and head into the “real-world.” For me, questions came. When do you graduate? How much longer do you have? Then my boyfriend of four years proposed. Now I have to plan a wedding? My two jobs quickly turned into three, and my three classes, sadly, dropped to two and then one. Life had officially taken over and school was now on the back burner.
All of these things turned into a nightmare that I didn’t sign up for. My anxiety was at an all-time high which caused me to constantly beat myself up about not being done with school. By this time, all I wanted was to be working in a career that I loved.
Finally, enough was enough. After two years of planning, a wedding finally happened. Then, I took control and made school my number one priority. I went down to part-time in one job and began full throttle as a full-time student. It feels good now to be so close to getting my degree and using all these years of experience and knowledge as an advantage.
It has taken years to understand and accept that it’s okay not to graduate in four years. It’s okay to do life a little out of order like getting married, buying a house, and then graduating college. It’s okay to learn to flow with what is thrown your way if you know what you want the outcome to be.