Whether you’re taking an extra lap and staying a fifth year, or you just tend to hang with an older crowd, it’s a tough situation when you’re the only one in your friend group not graduating. The important thing is to make sure these negative feelings don’t strain your relationships. Here’s what we recommend doing.
Acknowledge your feelings…but don’t harp on them.
It’s totally normal to feel upset or disappointed, and it probably won’t do you any good if you just try to bury those feelings without addressing them. Give yourself some time to acknowledge how you feel, why you feel that way, and figure out how you can move on. Just try not to harp on these feelings for too long because this can lead to built up resentment for the people you love.
Work on keeping those relationships strong.
Speaking of resentment, it’s important that you only have positive feelings toward your graduating friends. After all, they’re not choosing to abandon you! The situation might sting a bit, but open communication and an effort from both sides to continue hanging out is essential.
Don’t let their path discourage yours.
If you were supposed to graduate alongside these friends but certain circumstances lead you to stay another year, you might be feeling a bit discouraged. Just remember—it’s totally normal to stay longer than four years. In fact, it’s actually way more common than you may think. Making constant comparisons and feeling like you’re not good enough can affect your schoolwork and lead to some serious strains in your friendships, so don’t bother!
Use your situation to its advantage.
There are definitely some perks of having friends that graduate ahead of you. First of all, they can let you in on all of their learned knowledge when it comes time for you to grab that diploma and start job searching. They may even be a great connection to a job you’re interested in!
Second, have you ever thought that maybe they’re envious of you? It’s sad leaving behind some of the best years of your life to start “adulting.” Chances are, they’d be ecstatic at any invite you extend for them to come pay you a visit.
Seek opportunities to make more friends.
Just because your friends are leaving, doesn’t mean you have to spend a year or so going through school by yourself. Why not make some more friends? Check out some campus events, join some clubs, get an on-campus job, or just start chatting to some classmates. It’s never too late to make new friends!
Do you have any more advice that we didn’t list? Share your thoughts with our readers in the comments below.