Late graduation, poor planning not all that bad

After four years at Oswego State, I can proudly say that I will be graduating next month.

That previous sentence is what I would be saying…if I wasn’t an idiot. You see, even though this is my fourth year at Oswego State, I will not be graduating until next May.

I didn’t realize until the beginning of last year that I would not be graduating after eight semesters. How did this happen? Well there isn’t a clear answer, but if you had to pinpoint it, it would have to be how I scheduled classes. I took a lot of classes that I thought counted as General Educations, but they didn’t; I took advice from the wrong people on what classes to take; I ignored advice from the right people; I waited too long to add my minor; I possibly did not meet with my adviser enough; etc. I was slightly mad with myself when I found out about all of this, but I realized that it wasn’t that big a deal, I would just graduate in December 2011.

But a scheduling conflict kept that from happening as well, as three classes I needed to take to graduate in December were all at the exact same time this semester, and one of them is only offered during the spring, so my graduation was pushed back once again. I may or may not have unleashed a string of expletives at my computer screen when I brought up the class listings on myOswego and discovered this.

All of this is leading to the point I’m trying to make: there’s no use to complaining about setbacks in life, and you should always try to make the best of the situation you find yourself in.

I was initially frustrated when I realized I was graduating in five years, instead of four. Even though I focused on the negative aspects of the situation, I then started to think about the positives, such as living in The Village with a bunch of my friends and potentially getting another position on the editorial board of this newspaper. Nobody’s college experience ends up exactly the way they planned it, so one should never worry too much if setbacks like this happen.

Setbacks can be learning experiences. Someone who has gone through life with everything handed to them and achieved every goal they ever had may be an extremely happy person, but they are missing part of the human experience that deals with facing adversity and difficulty. A truly happy person doesn’t achieve it through luck alone; it is achieved through dealing with any obstacles that are put in the way.

Still, I occasionally wish I was graduating with the people I arrived with at Oswego State. Last week, I went with a friend of mine who is graduating this year while he picked up his cap and gown (one more advantage to not graduating yet: you get to wait a year before the school takes every last dollar in your wallet for graduation accessories) and on one of the tables was a Class of 2011 scroll that graduates could sign. As I walked by it, I thought to myself that if I had made different decisions, my name could be on that long piece of paper as well.

It is only human nature that we occasionally think to ourselves what would happen if we all made different decisions in our lives. But hindsight is 20/20, and foresight is infinitely cloudier. So my advice is this: do not spend all of your time worrying about what you did or did not do in the past. Worry about what you will do with your future. If you’re lucky enough to have additional opportunities as a result of poor decision making, then by all means, take them, or you will end up regretting that as well.