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One year too many?

The encouraging perspective of a fifth-year senior

Mickayla Miller
Editor In Chief

Let’s face it: hardly anyone likes being a fifth-year senior. You watched last May as all of your friends walked across the stage, accepting their diplomas with doe eyes, not worrying about the future ahead of them. And yet, here you are, at Millersville, completing your fifth year.

Did you switch your major after becoming disenchanted with it after two classes? Were you red-shirted your freshman year, but still wanted to compete in sports for the full four years? Could you not afford to attend, and would often scrounge up small change just to pay for tuition?

Regardless of the reason, I want to let you know it’s okay. I’m in the same boat, and you are not alone.

I am a first-generation college student in my family, having grown up with a supportive pair of parents who told me I could do anything I put my mind to. Imagine the disconnect when I found out that meant that I wouldn’t be graduating on time. Here I am, in yet another year of debt with a sudden change of heart on my future profession (again). 

I’ve been putting myself through college; paying the odds and ends of my tuition bill when I wasn’t given enough money in loans, nor when the money I got from several scholarships (for which I am very thankful) just didn’t cover it. Pair that with the ineffective way that the Registrar’s office has handled my situation — no offer for a payment plan, snide comments when given extensions to pay my bill, flat out refusal to spend more than 5 minutes with me — and you have a slightly resentful Mickayla. 

If your reason for being a fifth-year senior is financial, like me, find solace in the fact that a majority of fifth-year students are in the exact same boat, according to a lifestyle/learning website called ThoughtCo. Once again, you are not alone.

But when you think about all of the negatives that led you to be here at Millersville another year, you end up wallowing so much that you forget about the good opportunities that can come from being a fifth-year senior. You have another year of internships, resources at the tip of your finger and clubs to be part of. You have a fifth try at making this year one of the most unforgettable years of your life.

When you graduate (and, I know it doesn’t feel like you will, but you WILL graduate), you’ll have one more year of experience than other people who are entering the job field. This will give you a leg up in the professional world, and you’ll have more expertise to offer to your potential employer.

Also, you have one more year to find yourself; you can use this time for self exploration. Ask out that cute guy, gal or nonbinary pal. Spend all night researching in the library. Take that Myers-Briggs personality test for the fifteenth time. Join the Sign Language Club. Volunteer your time for the Campus Cupboard or Meals on Wheels. Apply for that internship that you’re underqualified for.

This is your last year of being an undergraduate. While it feels like you’ve been an undergraduate for your entire life, just know that the time will pass, and soon you’ll be up on stage, doe-eyed and ready to take on the world. But until then, know it’s okay to be in this spot- just make the most out of it.