Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 7, 2010

“Independent” Learning: Is it a new trend to get your degree in more than four years?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been responsible for funding my education. At least from the time I was able to earn a steady income at the tender age of thirteen. Now that I’m on my last semester of my six-year enrollment at the University of Nevada, Reno, I had to ask myself, “Why did it take so long for me to earn my bachelors degree in International Business?” Friends may argue that it was my excessive partying, or my change of major midway through my college career, or even my lack of motivation to continue my studies after I took the year of to work and gain residency. It wasn’t until recently that it just dawned on me that the reason I’ve delayed graduating was the fact that I was scared to move on and begin my journey to the next level. One thing I can say, and many can agree on, is that these last six years have been the most exciting.

I recently read a blog from Rebecca Thorman, aka Modite, titled “No ‘A for Effort:’ How Colleges Fail Generation Y”, and in it she argues about the changes many institutions are implementing and how they are failing Generation Y adults in properly educating and preparing us for the future. She also argues about how the emphasis on a major is irrelevant due to the changing environment where a title is not what is important but the amount of knowledge and experience we gain from them. In a way I agree about her ideas and relish on them, but I just want to point out that it’s not the institutions of higher learning that has failed us, because what I learned is that only we as students have that power to fail in life. Dr. Bret Simmons, my personal branding and very intellectual professor of organizational professor says it perfectly, “A courageous individual is one who takes full responsibility in their success and in their failures as well.”

If I were to graduate in four years, I probably wouldn’t have gained all the knowledge and experience needed for me to succeed. To be honest, with everything changing and the world relying more and more on technology, graduating in four years may seem obsolete in the years to come. I just want to make it perfectly clear that I am not endorsing students to slack off and take their time to graduate. It’s all up to the individual to decide when it’s their time to move on and make a name for themselves.



  1. Great blog ! on personal experience. I agree with you the key word is real life experiences that you accumulate in college . Rest of it a subtext. Keep going Jace.

    • Thanks Deepak, I’ll put into consideration your advice on real life experiences in my next blog.

  2. Great blog post, Jace. I know how that feels. I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship that paid for my tuition, otherwise I don’t know how I could have afforded to go to school. So I encourage everyone to get engaged in sports because you can get your school paid for that way.

    In terms of failing institutions, I think that it is very easy to blame the system instead of blaming yourself for any failures.

    I undoubtedly believe that if you have a head on your shoulders you would do just fine in life!

    • Thanks for the input Eldar, I appreciate any kind of insight on my writing as it helps me recognize what I can do to keep readers’ interests.

  3. I agree that the four year college norm is coming to an end. Young people are faced with increased competition for funding their college education, everything is more expensive and they need to have part time jobs to get by. Great work!

    • Thank you Brigette for your input on my blog as I am always all ears from anyone reading my posts so I will know that I am gaining readers’ interests.

  4. So should the US change its view on education and make it like in most European schools, free?
    I mean that would require a tougher competition and selection to get into colleges but that way tuition would be free and really the best of the best will get enrolled?

    Everything is about money. What if it needs to be about quality?

    • Maybe not entirely free, but at least more affordable so that everyone has the opportunity to bring an edge or competitive advantage, therefore raising the bar in terms of quality and tougher competition. Thanks for the input Eldar.

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