Hello lovelies! I hope you all are having an amazing day so far! ♥ Today I am here to talk about my personal college story and why I am choosing to graduate a semester early from college. I will be graduating this December (2017) from the University of Wisconsin, and I am both super excited and slightly nervous all at the same time. While I believe that I am making the right decision for me, there are going to be a lot of things about college that I will miss when I am done and graduated. College has been such an amazing experience so far, and I am so happy that I got to share most of that journey with all of my lovely readers! So, without any further ado, I am going to explain what happened leading up to this decision, why I’m graduating college a semester early, and what advice and tips I have for other students who are considering when they should graduate from college.
The Early Bird Gets the Worm?
I came into college in Fall 2014 with 22 credits – credits I had received from taking Spanish in high school and from taking AP tests for Calculus and Biology. At my university, this meant that as an incoming college freshman, I was almost at sophomore standing (24 credits = sophomore) and ahead of the game, so to speak. My freshman year, I experimented with how many credits I would take (my first semester I went with 13 to test the waters and then my second semester I decided I could handle 16 – it was a LOT).
Sophomore and junior year, I basically took the minimum credits required to be full-time status – somewhere between 12-14 credits every semester. I also took 6 credits last summer (the summer between my sophomore and junior years) while I was interning in New York City. This meant that by the time I finished my second semester of junior year, I only needed 9 credits to graduate. (The required amount of credits to graduate is 120).
So, my decision for my senior year came down to, do I go ahead and take 9 credits (which is part-time status) and graduate in December, or drag it out, take more classes, and graduate college in four years as expected?
Basically from March-May this year, I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do. The weeks leading up to registering for Fall classes was absolute torture (LOL!) as I considered both the pros and cons of graduating early. Basically, this is what my list consisted of:
- Save money
- Job search early
- Be done with academics!
- Feel ready to move on
- Less time to experience “senior year” and be with friends/college atmosphere
- Thrown into the “real world” and full-time jobs sooner
- Fears if I’m ready or not
Looking back, it really just felt like a choice that I didn’t want to regret! In the end, I followed my gut (and my brain and my heart!) and decided that I WAS ready to close this chapter of my life and journey into the real world as a #collegegraduate.
For me, the main draws, as I listed above, was that I would be saving a TON of money by graduating early (college is expensive, you know!), be able to begin paying off my student loans sooner, and have a head-start on the competition by being able to start searching for a full-time job earlier than the “normal” May grads do. Similarly, I had reached a point where I didn’t feel like there was anything left to really learn in school – I’m kind of at a place in my career right now where real-life experience is everything, and being able to devote more time to my job this fall (with a reduced class load) will be a wonderful opportunity for me.
As for what advice I would give to other college students trying to decide if they should graduate early, I would say sit down and build your own pros + cons list and discuss all the possibilities. Lastly, ask yourself this: do you feel ready to move on from college? It will be sad, and you’ll miss university life in some aspects, but if this is really the right choice for you, you will also be looking forward to and excited for the future.
After making this decision, I have been nothing but confident in my choice and ready to see what’s next for me. I am happy, excited, nervous, and proud to be a college graduate come December, 2017, and I wish you all the best of luck at deciding for yourselves when your #college chapter will end!
Thanks so much for reading! Share your thoughts and questions with me below or on Twitter @CaseyDonart.
P.S. You should also check out this great post that illustrates why you should consider graduating early + how to know if it’s the right choice for you!