By Ashleigh Buchanan
Victory Lap. Five year plan. Super Senior. These are just a few terms used to describe students who take five years to complete their college education.
Whether it’s changing a student’s major, sports eligibility or just being behind in classes, many students find themselves facing an extra semester or two after their fourth year of college to finish up their degree.
It would be easy for these fifth year seniors to live off campus, come to school just for class, and then leave without much involvement. And a lot of 5th year seniors are like this. Sometimes they have jobs, internships or other off campus requirements that take up a lot of time.
But this year, several “Super Seniors” have continued to live on campus and be involved with campus events.
Spencer Hathcock is a fifth year senior who blames this extra semester on having “too much fun his first two years of college.” Hathcock said he had to drop a couple of classes. And instead of cramming too much into previous semesters, he decided to take half of a victory lap and finish up his degree this fall.
Hathcock still lives on campus and is taking advantage of still being a part of the campus community by investing in others. He is working with the Campus Ministries Council to start a mentor program between SNU students and younger kids who live downtown Oklahoma City. Hathcock is also a part of a discipleship group with freshmen guys.
Hathcock said that his tuition dollars are paying for many of the activities going on around campus, so he might as well be involved in these events.
Chesney Burgweger is another fifth year senior at SNU. Burgweger transferred to SNU the spring of her freshman year. Therefore, she still had another semester of cross-country eligibility. The cross-country coach offered to keep her scholarship, so Burgweger decided to take another semester of classes at SNU and is able to take classes that interest her. She is currently taking Astronomy and will get to travel to Costa Rica with the class over Christmas Break.
Burgweger has enjoying living on campus this semester, and said it is more convenient than having to commute if she lived off campus. She has also enjoying continuing relationships with her cross-country teammates and building new relationships with freshmen that she wouldn’t have made otherwise.
Nate Siems is a fifth year senior who will be taking a full year-long victory lap. Siems didn’t declare his missions major until the end of his freshman year, so he was behind on his theology classes.
“Being a fifth year senior is not a bad thing, because the year has been enjoyable,” Siems said, and he hasn’t been overloaded on classes.
Siems chose to live in Snowbarger Hall this year, and said he “wanted to live with freshman guys to have fun in the dorms again.” He explained that living on campus, and especially in Snowbarger, has helped him get to know more people, especially freshmen, and have a broader friend group. Siems said he is more involved than if he were just living and hanging out with other seniors all the time.
Even though these students are graduating behind schedule, they are enjoying their victory lap and making the most of their last days on campus.