5 reasons you shouldn't beat yourself up for not graduating college on time

college is arguably one of the best times of your life. it's a time when most of us question everything and learn much about who we are as individuals. even though 4 years is the suggested time frame for obtaining your first degree, it's not always that simple. first off, there's different requirements for different majors; some degree programs are more strenuous than others (no shade). secondly, it can sometimes seem as though there are so many things working against you getting that degree "on time". but what exactly does "on time" mean? who decided what is on time and what is "late" or "behind". let's drop the labels and get down to the fact: everyone does not finish college in four years. if you can, that's great and you are awesome! if you don't.. guess what? that's great, and you are also awesome! here's why you should not get so caught up in the societal norms and beat yourself up about not graduating on time.

5). life happens.

everyone's journey in life has a different trajectory. so many things happen during our college years that threaten to throw us off course. i've had friends that have lost their parents, grandparents, cousins and so forth. and sometimes, these untimely deaths caused them to leave school for a semester or two. at the same time, i've also know people to take time off from school because they weren't mentally ready to be there (which was reflective in their grades). whatever the case, i've learned that life has a way of teaching us in some of the strangest ways. while we may not know what life may bring, it's up to us to make the decision to see things out that we've committed to (like college). 

4). you've evolved.

maybe you switched your major a bunch of times until you found something you were passionate about. or, maybe you didn't take college seriously when you first arrived so your grades weren't that great and now you're on an uphill battle of raising your grade point average. as long as by the time you graduate, you've evolved and your way of thinking has shifted...it'll all be worth it. so focus more on the positives here. i've heard it said before that life is like a polaroid and that we develop from the negatives. that holds much truth here. evolving is an essential part of any growing process, even if it was prompted by the ugliest string of events. 

3). beating yourself up won't make your graduation date come any quicker. 

the thing about worrying is that... it doesn't change anything but how youthful you look. don't let stress age you prematurely. your graduation should be one of the happiest moments of your life. don't invest time in beating yourself up because it didn't happen when you wanted it to. trust the timing of your life. 

2). the instagram likes will be there when you finally do cross the stage.

don't let social media be the source of validation you need for your accomplishments. everyone is not always what "they post to be", anyway. you may feel some type of way when everyone posts their pictures in their caps and gowns while people post congratulatory comments. but, know that when your time comes, it'll be just as great (if not better). so, don't be a hater. it's ok to double tap someone else's graduation pictures...your day will come. 

1). those who are truly for you will not judge or belittle you. 

if someone begins talking down at you or makes you the butt of a joke because you didn't graduate on time, that person is not really someone you should have in your circle. they aren't really for you. rather, you are a person of convenience for them...which is why it's easy for them to make fun of you when you are no longer beneficial to them. those that truly for you, will not act any sort of way toward you. they may have a conversation with you in an effort to hold you accountable and ensure that you are still working toward your goal. but, the difference is.. it'll come from a good place. so, you should be receptive to those who are genuinely concerned, because they most often want to see you succeed just as much as you wish to see yourself succeed. remember, success will happen...you just have to remain encouraged and stick with it until the mission is complete.