The Power of Delayed Graduation...Oops I Meant Delayed Gratification

In high school going to college was not a matter of if or when I'd go but rather where I would go. I now realize that perhaps if I should go and when I should go should have also been on the table, but it's only the passage of time that has shown me this. Eighteen-year-old me was focused on the dream of becoming a published author and the reality that a day job would be needed while pursuing that dream. While she didn't see that that day job didn't need to be one that required a college degree, forces beyond her control in some ways made it appear that way. College degrees and jobs seemed inseparable at the time and I'm actually grateful that I saw it that way. While my opinion on the inseparability of college degrees and jobs has changed, I would not be the person I am right now if I had not gone to college. In going to college I have truly learned the value of delayed gratification.

The increased estimation of the value of delayed gratification emerges in the journey of my mindset as a freshman to now where I have willfully decided upon a delayed graduation. I somewhat reflected on my mindset about college at 19 in my post about my decision to transfer to Franciscan. However, I believe a deeper reflection must be done to see how delaying my graduation affected my overall mindset towards college and the concept of delayed gratification.

I will be honest like many people I want my expectations and wants met immediately. I do not do well waiting. Patience may be a virtue but it's not one I excel at. Of course, this being the case stepping to Ball State University's campus for the first time as a Freshman I had it all planned out (not literally). I thought I knew for sure that I would be there for four years. Though of course I wasn't particularly impatient for graduation, I was impatient for the four years ahead which turned out to be only three. I won't get into the nitty gritty of it all here as I did that in the post linked above about choosing to transfer to Franciscan. However, I can only say that putting the expectation of four years at the time may have been realistic I am generally dedicated to my decisions once I make them. Yet, my plan for four years was not what the Lord willed for me.

I made the decision after several incidents within my classes to transfer to a new school; also I wanted Theology courses to be part of my college curriculum (though not needing to attend another concurrently to do so). I have had the desire to study theology since I was in high school. Many of the theology teachers at Cathedral High School (Indianapolis, IN) inspired this in me and some them I didn't necessarily have as teachers. Though it was tossed around in my head now and again, theology ultimately became eclipsed by English or Journalism for a time. Though I think I would have transferred regardless of events that occurred in the Year 2020, namely the ongoing (?) pandemic, theology, as a major, may have not been on my radar except for the great gift God gave me in the Christendom@Project. This program, which showed me new insights about the bible in Fall 2020 and gave me a profound appreciation for the Fathers of the Church in Spring 2021, blessed me with the realization that I wanted more theology classes in my schedule and to dive even deeper in my beautifully profound Catholic faith truly gifted to me by God via my parents.

I remember submitting to my deposit for Franciscan and realizing that I was not going to be a four-year college student. I would at least have one more semester (if I only decided to complete the English degree). I jumped the gun and added Catechetics as a major. Now after a semester and some reflection I will be changing to Theology. Still, this means I will graduate a complete year (I think) after I first anticipated. Yet, I know I am much happier at Franciscan than I was at Ball State.

I may not have a bachelor's degree quite yet and I am taking longer than I anticipated. I now see though that this delayed time to have the gratification of a bachelor's degree profits me more than the four-year plan I thought signing the dotted line at Ball State locked me into. I grew in my understanding or rather acknowledged my lack of understanding of money management. I am now more aware that if you create a budget sheet you should probably use it. I got a new perspective on certain situations that occurred at Ball State that I would never have gotten if I hadn't transferred. I also learned that I still need to grow in the area of giving myself a break when it comes to academics. I finally allowed myself to make a schedule for the first time at the end of the semester; I plan to continue this practice come the beginning of classes for the spring semester. So while my nineteen-year-old self may not have been correct on how long I would attend college, I'm happy she wasn't right for otherwise who I am coming into 2022 would be likely very different and I'd rather not think about that.