As the fall semester gets underway, there will undoubtedly be the familiar signals of unfamiliarity among freshmen students who scatter haphazardly throughout campus trying to find their way.
These students will covertly try to check campus maps, in search of specific buildings, or they will unashamedly ask someone in the know.At the complete opposite side of the spectrum, there is the antithesis to the floundering freshmen.
These people walk through campus without rush, completely at ease. They seem to know everyone and have a rapport with every administrator and professor. They know the best places to grab some food in between classes. They have mastered UNCG.
They are the super seniors, or students who are in the fifth, sixth, or so on undergraduate year.
Terry Baker, a UNCG super senior majoring in theatre, took a few years off from college before returning to the fold.
He thinks his time outside of university better informed his attitude when he returned.
“My knowledge is based mainly on the fact that I matured outside of school before going back to college. I have a much better relationship with my professors and knowledge of how things operate on campus because I have been around the block a few times and I’m focused on the education, not the socializing,” he said.
According to articles from both USA Today and Elite Daily, the number of super seniors is increasing, and that is not such a bad thing.
Both articles make arguments for students who do not graduate within the standard—though evermore less so—four-year period.
Some benefits they cite are making friends with unexpected people, trying out different courses that would not normally go along with a major and simply having more time to enjoy the college experience.
Baker sees the benefit in his extended college career as a way to find his passion.
“I began my first semester at UNCG in public relations, hoping to become an agent or representative and coordinator for people that wanted to get their names out in the public.
I realized after a year that public relations wasn’t a fit for me, so I changed my major to theatre, so that I could focus on my art and my passion for designing,” he said.
The downside of being a super senior may come with the stigma associated with diddling away time in university while peers are stepping into their designated careers.
But this downside is likely becoming a non-issue with the increase of non-traditional students like adult students, transfers, and so on becoming more of a staple on campuses.
Baker agrees more with the latter case.
“I do not feel like there are any stigmas towards seniors being here an extra year or 3 extra years. We are all trying to earn a degree— that is our goal,” he said.
Super seniors are, in a way, college gurus, and many of the super seniors at UNCG are, no doubt, taking advantage of the benefits listed above.