Finally, graduation season is winding down and people are done having their many celebrations. I didn't mind because I don't have food in the house and their many celebrations had fed me through this tough time in my life, but I digress. It's so good seeing those that you love graduate, they have made it through that tough period and crossed the finish line. At the same time, if you were or are like me, then you will know that watching all your friends graduate, while you are just taking another summer vacation kind of, well, it sucks. You're so conflicted because they're crossing a finish line that you may or may not have any idea when you will cross it or even where it is for you.

Trust me, I understand. I'm 23 years old and am only a sophomore. Every time someone asks me what year I am, I cringe a bit inside. This is because when I say sophomore, I always think that they see a 19 year old or something. It's not bad being seen as 19, except I'm 23, so I'd rather not be seen that way. I have changed my major about 3-4 times, not even officially some of those times, sometimes just in my head. I think by the time I graduate, I would've been in undergrad for about 7 years and I'm not even an engineering study nor have I ever been a major that "should've taken" more than the typical 4 years. I have even been to graduations of people I consider younger brothers and sisters in the faith that I advise myself, but you know what, I'm completely happy with my situation and would go through it all over again if you asked me.

This is not necessarily an article, it's a piece to encourage those who are seeing their peers excel in a way that seems that they are surpassing you. I felt the exact same way. Only until recently did I really see that I was happy with where I am now. I am finally in a major that I LOVE and even in it, I have found opportunities that I love as far as internships and jobs. I don't think I would thrive in any other major the same way and I thank God because I learned so much in my, what seems to be long, process.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11-13‬

I clung to His words, I literally had to because I had no hope for myself at one point in time. I didn't know when I would finish school, but I knew I was in it and I hated it. What I hated more was seeing my friends complete it and recognize that I still had to be there.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭6-7‬

I transferred into Howard University after about 2 years of being in school and all they accepted from me was 16 credits..........16?! I almost lost it in that office, but I remembered this verse, Philippians 4:6. It didn't solve my problems but it helped me to realize something, that God has everything in His hands, whether I chose to believe or not. A friend came to me and told me to see it in a way where I would go through it all again, but with knowledge from my mistakes and knowledge that I gained the years I had already been in school. This helped me because I saw that now I'm in a place where I have an advantage and was hungrier than those around me, which makes me stand out in certain environments. All this time, I looked at my situation the wrong way; I had always become sad when I thought about how I was still in school, but God spoke to me through someone and showed me to instead get the most out of it while I'm still here. I have the opportunity to build my resume, network more, get my GPA higher and and equip myself better because I still have the opportunity to do so.

If you’re in a similar situation as me or have had academic downfalls, don't think down on yourself or feel any kind of way. This article isn't to say that the rest of it will just be easy once you take it all to God, but you will know for a fact that He is helping you and that He will change things. I ended up not having to pay for the rest of my education and I'm thankful to God for that, but if I didn't go through what I went through in an academic dismissal from my original university, I would have maybe finished there with a major that I was iffy about, and would've had to resort to loans. So don't only be happy for your peers when they graduate, but also be happy for yourself knowing that you have more time to build and equip yourself for the "real world.” I have been told by many older than me to see my prolonged time as a blessing more than a curse, so I do that and it has helped me see things much better. I pray you do the same and if you need any kind of encouragement. please feel free to email us and let us know so that I or the rest of the team may encourage you!