I am right on track to graduate this coming May with a double major in Anthropology and Psychology, which I declared towards the end of my sophomore year after being undecided coming into college. In fact, with a little hard work, I probably could have graduated a semester early. A general education course and an elective from each of the Anthropology and Psychology departments are the only three classes I need to graduate. After having an incredibly busy college career, I could make next semester as relaxed as I pleased. And that is exactly what I am going to do – in Cape Town, South Africa.
Instead of spending my last semester in Storrs, CT, I am studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Therefore, I am breaking the ‘Finish in Four’ year rule. I will not be graduating this May with the rest of my friends with whom I have spent the last three plus years. Due to me going abroad, I will need to stay an extra semester, and I am completely okay with it. At no other point in my life will I have the opportunity to participate in such an amazing program as the one which I will partake in South Africa. While in Cape Town I will be living in a house with sixteen other students from UConn, which in itself will be quite the experience. Also, I will be interning at a local organization, with my placement being determined based on my interests. While I do not for sure know my internship yet, the one proposed to me involves working with at-risk youth and creating a outdoor instruction curriculum to teach them life skills. From my understanding, the organization can draw some parallels to the Outward Bound program here in the States, which I spent a week doing in Colorado my senior year of high school. Additionally, I will be taking courses at the University of Cape Town, which will be taught in part by the UConn professor who accompanies us on the trip. Ultimately, I will have three-day weekends to construct my own activist volunteer program and also explore and experience the culture of South Africa. I intend to do a lot of hiking, to learn how to surf, to bungy jump, and to integrate myself into a culture so different than that of the United States.
Do you now understand where my rational to stay in college an extra semester? This program is incredible and I am unbelievably excited to participate in it. This does not come without anxiety and fear, however. I will be leaving all of my friends during their last semester and coming back to a very different socially scene at UConn next fall. This is an adjustment that will have to be faced when the time comes – and no sooner.
So, while I have every opportunity to graduate this spring in the traditional four year manner which everyone advocates so diligently, I have decided that staying an extra semester in college is actually going to benefit me long-term more than graduating ‘on time’. I have my entire life to experience the “real world,” to settle down and work in a career. Why not spend a little more time to myself, living and exploring while I still can?