Coming of cage

You exactly know what they’re going to say—it’s not okay to be delayed. Graduate on time. Get that diploma and unburden your parents. Of course, it’s the ultimate goal to post your graduation picture and drop that #RoadToULS hashtag when you’re supposed to. Being on time is undeniably the matter at hand, but when you’re still far from the finish line, there’s no excuse letter format for that. But life, with perspectives tweaked a little, could use some understanding.

Let’s first get it clear. You don’t automatically become an anti-future, careless, scrap-this-system jerk if you’re delayed. The answer is simple: each person has his own timeline. And no hand on any clock can fully dictate the pace of this four/five-year myth.

There are numerous ways for a student to lose track and get off the ride of college. Remember, the road is never smooth for everybody, but worse is that sometimes, the road itself breaks off into a cliff. And from there you’ll realize how college has got to be the most sensitive make-it-or-break-it challenge—miss a single step and it renders you out of sync.

Perhaps we’re over saying “graduating on time is just a social construct” because it really is. While there should never be a culture of incompetence, there should equally be a call to stop slapping the four or five-year rule to anyone. Take four years, or maybe six—it doesn’t make graduating any less of an accomplishment.

The truth is, what ruins the supposed timeline runs a long list. Constraints of time and money are just two of the most common reasons in being delayed, but also take into account those who have fallen into the abyss of existential crisis in a middle of a semester, or those who have let their siblings finish schooling before them, or even those who have just begun to realize what they want to be.

PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide, what we should learn is that we can afford to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Above all, as students, the eagerness to learn is what we shouldn’t lose along the way. For whatever breeds that sincerity, at the end of the day, you are who you make yourself to be.

College shouldn’t feel like a cage we are constantly trying to escape from.

It matters to address the feelings of those who feel sinfully rebellious for not conforming to their own syllabus. It’s true that you may swim the same pool and have the same starting point as others—but you can never completely have the exact strokes, depth, and distance from the finish line.

The real world doesn’t just need you to be competent—it needs you to be whole. The kind of whole that was crushed but got back on his/her feet again. The kind of whole that is fulfilled. The kind of whole that actually enjoyed college and is now ready to face the world. The kind of whole that gave one’s self the chance to know his campus as the fulfilling place it is. After all, college shouldn’t feel like a cage we are constantly trying to escape from.

The dropout rate in the Philippines rises significantly as the years go by. And as hard as finishing studies can be—if there are no constraints hindering your outward journey—don’t stop. It doesn’t mean things won’t go a slower than usual; but just keep this in mind: continue. The years won’t define you. Your timeline is yours.