It’s not a race. Why are you running?

Quin Norris, Sports Editor

Often, I have seen students around campus freak out over their grades in classes and how the bad grade is going to affect their ability to graduate on time. 

Whenever I hear this interaction, I always think to myself, “Why would you fret just this one class?” Then it dawned on me: many of the students here at UNA have tied their success to whether they get out of college in four years. I am here to tell you that if you are one of these students you should take a deep breath. 

College does not operate like high school. The mindset we should have as students’ needs to change. Our first objective at college is to learn. I know this sounds corny however, I mean it. Our job here at UNA is not to finish in four years to get a piece of paper, but instead to gather knowledge in a field of study to go into the workforce. So then why would we put a stress on how quickly we finish if that is not the goal? 

College is a choice not a mandate. 

In high school, the mentality of finishing on time comes from social fear. You spend time with a group of people who are the same age as you and come from the same town. Therefore, failing becomes a social crime making your older status akin to your own form of scarlet letter. Once again college becomes a different beast. Here there is no timestamp on finishing. There is no social group of peers with you in every class to force shame upon you for failure. So, then what gives us the fear to finish in four years? 

The fear we have over finishing quickly usually comes from our own vision of how life is going to work out for us. The irony in this is that nobody can predict their own future. So, I advise that you remember that no one ever said that college was a race. Like mentioned before in college you are expected to gain two things from the experience. Knowledge in your field of study, and a piece of paper that proves your knowledge. So, take your time to ensure that the knowledge you are here to gain is retained. I say this because the great secret to moving slower through college comes from the ability to ensure you have a grasp on a subject before you move on. 

My personal secret is that I stay a part time student to ensure my work loads are never too heavy. I understand the struggles of chasing a diploma while also working a job. Taking your time doesn’t make you dumber or lazier. It just means you plan on getting the most out of your situation. 

One other tip I would extend to those who are scared of not finishing in time because they may fail or have failed a class, do not let failure distract you from your goal. Sometimes we all mess up in life.  If everyone was immune to failing classes, we would have no need for tutors. If you fail to pass a class the first time, you can always take the class again. If you are worried about its effect on your GPA then no need to fret. Once you retake the class all will be squared away in terms of your GPA. 

The other fantastic thing you can do before you retake a class is prepare ahead of time for the second go around with the material by making sure you go to the Commons on campus to get free tutoring in the subject you need help in. This will ensure you are giving yourself the best chance at passing in round two. 

In short, I wanted to write this piece for anyone who may feel down about the situation they are in to let them know they are fine. Most students who attend college do not finish in four years. The material is much harder and you must finish a lot of classes to achieve your certificate. Always remember that finishing college is about the finishing part and not the time in which you got it done. 

At the end of the day your degree in seven years is just as valuable as someone who got theirs in four.