By Gia Pilgrim, Asst. Editor

Gia in her Purington Hall dorm during the fall of 2011 (photo courtesy of Gia Pilgrim)

Gia in her Purington Hall dorm during the fall of 2011 (photo courtesy of Gia Pilgrim)

Gia Today (photo courtesy of Gia Pilgrim)

Gia Today (photo courtesy of Gia Pilgrim)

As I clicked “send” on an email to my advisor for preregistration, it dawned on me that Fall 2015 will be the start of my sixth year at UMF.

What you read isn’t a mistake. My path at UMF started in Summer 2010, taking UMF’s Summer Experience liberal arts course. After taking a semester off to work in local restaurants in my hometown to help my parents pay for the tuition, I started living in Scott North in Spring 2011. Since then I have changed my major, chosen to take classes part-time, and even took another semester off to figure out my finances and plans for a future career. I’ve lived in two dorms and three apartments in Farmington. I’ve been both a rowdy partier and an A+ student.

I get mixed reviews from my peers as they tend to ask me, “Why are you still here?” or “Don’t you graduate this year? I remember you were here when I was a freshman.” Well friends, I am proud to call myself a super-duper senior.

And to all those so concerned to graduate and start “real life” I want to ask you: What’s the rush? When I started my freshman year I was enrolled as an education major, it took me two years to learn that it wasn’t the career for me. By Fall 2013, I was only taking two classes at a time. I was making big tips at a restaurant at Sugarloaf and paying off my school loans, paying my own rent, and snowboarding like crazy while many of my friends were struggling to make academic deadlines. My life became incredibly manageable while at the same time I was exploring new interests and putting my effort into clubs and discovering what my strengths and weaknesses are. I ended up deciding that my English classes were what I was most interested in, so I switched to an English major with a minor in Spanish.

So now I’m twenty-two years old, really good at waitressing, I’ve got a good grip on my student debt, career plans, and I freakin’ love my classes.

A lot of the time it takes leaving college life to truly appreciate it. A majority of my friends who graduated Class of ’14 have moved back to their hometowns or are working at other ski resorts as waitresses. They tell me how lucky I am to still be in school at UMF, and I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve built great relationships with other students, professors, and community members all the while saving money and curating a great resume.

This path is not for everyone and there are moments when I feel super-duper old to still be on campus. I miss the dorm-life and my close friends who I started my camaraderie with. But in the end, I elongated the good times of college by two years! When you’re older and locked into adulthood wouldn’t you wish that you considered staying one (maybe even two) more years growing and learning in such a great community? Or would it be worth the rush?