College students are known for procrastination. Usually, they are seen as procrastinating on an assignment or waiting too long to start studying for a test. What many students don’t realize is that by not paying close attention to their graduation requirements beyond classes, they are procrastinating and prolonging their stay at college.
At Western Oregon University, most academic departments requirement students to complete an internship, write a thesis, study abroad, or do a practicum. These are done for credit and recorded as a class. Meaning, yes, we have to pay for it! Many students wait until their senior year before they even start thinking about this, let alone planning and completing it.
College students often times don’t know for quite some time what they want to do as a career, and many don’t know what they want their major/minor degrees to be in. This is extremely common and there is nothing wrong with it. Freshmen, especially those without degree plans, tend to begin with their liberal arts core curriculum (LACC) classes. This is a great way to start, explore many different subject areas and determine what they want to do. Usually by their sophomore or junior year, they have their major(s)/minor(s) picked out and have begun working on their degree plan. However, it isn’t always clear on the degree plan that students have to complete one of the previously listed requirements.
Although it isn’t always intentional, procrastination in this matter, will likely force students to stay in school longer in order to complete this requirement. If students start this process earlier in their college career, even if it’s just researching possibilities, they can potentially finish school up in a shorter period of time. I, personally, know students who have to stay in school for an extra year, just to fulfill this requirement because they waited until the last minute; I’m one of them!
It may seem like a hassle and something that isn’t really that big of a deal, but when you get down to the end of your undergraduate degree and you’re ready to be done, all of a sudden it’s like a big cloud that you will wish you had taken care of earlier on. The best way to get a head start on this is to talk to your academic adviser about the possible options and what they all entail. You should also go to the academic advising and learning center and get a degree plan requirements paper, so you can keep track of what you need and what you already have. It may seem like a lot of work that you don’t need to do until the end. But if you start early and stay on top of it, it will make things much easier later on.
By Devin Lowrey