If anything can be said about university, it is that it has a reputation for throwing curveballs at unsuspecting students. As fresh-faced, doe-eyed first year students, we all have this vision that we will be huge successes, make tonnes of friends, network with all kinds of people, and make leaps and bounds in all aspects of life. Furthermore, most of this, if not all, will be compacted in the span of four years. However, sometimes, life doesn’t conform to what we expect. Sometimes, it takes five, or six years to accomplish what you feel you must before entering ‘the real world’.

There are several reasons as to why people go on to take extra years, none of which are necessarily negative. In fact, a student can benefit greatly from extending their stay, especially in terms of solidity and confidence for post-graduate studies. Jeremy Forsythe, a fifth-year student of UTSC who is double-majoring in psychology and philosophy, highlights that it is much more beneficial than disgraceful to take an extra year or two: “I think that, in university, a majority of students stay for a fifth year. So much so that it is almost recommended in order to, not only get the most out of your university career, but also go into post-university endeavors really knowing what you want to do while having a firm foundation.”

Along with the advantages that taking extra years provide for post-graduate studies, there are also several benefits one can reap while still in university. David Kornacki, a fifth-year UTSC philosophy specialist and psychology minor, explains how it feels to be as a student in his position: “I find that I have a better grasp on the material and what professors are expecting… I don’t think of (being a fifth year) as a setback. I think of it as something that is just an outcome; it just happened, and I have to deal with it. I don’t think it is worthwhile to think about it too often. I do understand how other people would see it, but I am already juggling a job and school, already moving too fast, so I don’t want to move on too fast.”

In conclusion, the practise of taking extra years is not much of a phenomenon at all. Every student has goals or desires that they want to achieve, and a generalized time-span of four years is often not enough to allow for these endeavors.