Did you Almost Graduate?

disappointmentPost #37 How to Handle Graduation Delay

Had you passed every course this last semester, you would have graduated.  Your family planned on it, you planned on it and everyone made graduation plans for you.  But then you failed one course your last semester.  How do you deal with this graduation delay – and how do you explain it to everyone else?

Have faith, don't panic

What to Tell Yourself

I’ve been in your shoes.  I failed one course during my last semester of graduate school.  It was a numerical analysis class I took as a math elective.  Looking back, I realize how much more terrible I made the graduation delay than was necessary.  Firstly, you are human and you made some mistakes.  Only you can know what those mistakes are but we all make them.  Don’t get down on yourself too much, it’s not worth getting caught in a downward spiral.  Secondly, this is a redeemable situation.  Trust me when I tell you all hope is not lost.  Failing to graduate does not make you a failure.  Many students must attend an extra semester or a summer session in order to graduate.  In the big scheme of life, an extra semester is insignificant.  Thirdly, this is just one obstacle of many more to come.  Life doesn’t always go as planned.  What you do now is assess the situation, pick up the pieces and keep moving toward your goal.  I cannot emphasize how valuable this skill will be in your lifetime.

What to Tell Your Family

I did talk about this subject in Post #33.  If you read this 2-part post, you will firstly understand what your parents need to hear out of your mouth.  This means you are going to do everything in your power to learn from your mistakes.  As parents, they want to see you learn and grow from this painful experience.  Secondly, there are the aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, etc. who may harass you about your graduation delay.  Do you know what they need to know?  In case they are not aware, you can tell them “shit happens.”  Shit happens to all of us because we are living a less than perfect life in a less than perfect world.  We are all just humans trying to do our thing.  Life requires struggles, failures and obstacles to overcome.  The polite way to address those pesky family members is to simply state that you weren’t ready to graduate yet.  It is, after all, about you and your needs and your mistakes.

take me or leave me

What to Tell Your Potential Employer

Perhaps you had a job offer waiting for you upon graduation.  Or maybe you had been in contact with a recruiter for a potential job offer.  Do not believe for one second that you have messed anything up due to your graduation delay.  Explain to your hiring manager/recruiter how you made some mistakes.  Explain what went wrong during this course and then talk about what you learned from it.  Do not place blame on anyone but yourself.  This will indicate that you know how to take responsibility, that you own your decisions and that you are learning.  If a job offer is no longer an offer, that’s okay.  You will find another that will be a better fit.  Remember this: if they truly value you, they will be willing to wait.

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