It’s a conversation that I am all too familiar with. Someone asks me, “So, are you graduating this semester, or…?” leaving the question open-ended, as if I don’t have a plan for my future, or as if I’m somehow ashamed that I’ve chosen to remain in school for a fifth year. I find this conversation amusing for a few reasons.
First, I actually feel more confident now than ever before in regards to what my future holds. Maybe this victory lap is exactly what I needed to realign my priorities and figure out what’s next. Second, I find that the people who ask me this question tend to be the same people who don’t have their own lives quite in order yet. How about we take Miley’s advice and not judge each other, kay? Thanks.
The thing I find most amusing about this conversation, however, is the general reaction I receive when I tell people that I’m in school for a fifth and final year. The general consensus tends to be, “Take your time!” *See also: “There’s no rush,” “Stay as long as you can,” and “That’s normal.”
Among those who reassure me that my life is not some sort of disaster-in-the-making is my good friend, and former Van Wilder himself, Elliott. Elliott graduated from the University of Nevada in May 2012 after an impressive six-year college career, when he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He now resides in San Diego, Calif., where he works 50 hours a week at a PR agency, lives with his girlfriend, Lisa, and often reminisces on his college days.
Being just two years removed from the college scene, Elliott is in a perfect position to provide valuable insight to undergraduates who want to make the most out of their college experience.
EC: What does your typical week look like nowadays?
ES: Work from around 8-6ish, go home, eat dinner with the girlfriend, usually catch some TV or play some video games, then get in bed around 10. Occasionally I’ll go to happy hour with some of my coworkers from the agency, but that’s only about once a week.
EC: Compare that to your typical week as an undergraduate.
ES: I was also working most days the last year or so, so I would be going to work and class all day Monday through Friday, but I would be going out a lot more often on weeknights. Also, I was doing university and Greek events throughout the week — always kind of running around.
EC: If you could, would you change anything about your college experience?
ES: I honestly wouldn’t change anything. It’s funny how, looking back, a lot of things you stress out about in college can end up being insignificant. The experience you get both inside and outside of the classroom is the most important part of attending college, and I definitely feel I made the most of it.
EC: Be realistic, there isn’t anything you would change?
ES: I guess I wished I had a better idea of what I wanted to do earlier so that I wouldn’t have taken so many unnecessary classes.
EC: Do you think that college students should try to graduate in four years?
ES: No. 4 years is just too quick. Don’t be in a rush to leave college and start the rest of your life, because the rest of your life doesn’t start right after college. It’s a rough road going from graduation to career, and you need to be ready for that.
EC: If you could give just one piece of advice to undergraduates, what would it be?
ES: My advice would be to talk to your professors — actually get to know them because they’re there for a reason. That, and you should definitely skip class at least once a month just to hang out and get drunk before 11 a.m. Take your time.