Maria Fischer discusses the pros and cons that come with graduating early
I took one look at my calendar last week and quickly realized how fast this semester has gone by. After a moment of panic, I rushed to meet up with my academic advisor to discuss possible classes for the spring semester.
As my advisor analyzed my DARS report and double-checked my acquired credits, she told me I had the option to graduate in winter 2015 — a full semester early.
I’ve kept my schedule busy in an effort to make sure I wasn’t falling behind, not necessarily to get ahead. As it turns out, I now have enough credits to graduate early.
But do I want to?
Graduating early definitely has its perks. Not only can you save tuition money, but also the costs of textbooks, housing and meal plans. Each year spent at Ohio University totals around $20,000 for me — a hefty amount. Rather than shell out tens of thousands of dollars, students who graduate early can shift their focus onto making money instead of spending it.
While Athens is an amazing college town, it is pretty limited in terms of jobs and internships. Graduating a semester or two early gives students a leg-up in the job search, allowing grads to scoop up a position in their desired field and city before the rest of their peers graduate in May.
But at the same time, the college years are irreplaceable. There are very few times in your life where you will live in a town made up of people the same age as you who are open and ready to meet new people.
I walked out of my advising meeting feeling nervous and confused. It seems like I just got here, so do I really want to leave so soon?
Delia Wietecha, a senior at OU, found herself asking the same question early last year. After packing her first three years of college full of classes, Wietecha realized she could graduate a semester early. She initially chose to graduate early, but because of a scheduling conflict, she now has to finish out the year because one of her remaining classes is only offered in the spring.
“I’m happy to be with my friends for another semester, but I regret not planning out my senior year better,” she said. “When I finally made the decision to graduate early, I knew (I) was ready. Now I have to do yet another semester of school work.”
The decision to graduate early is a tough one. When I think about all of the fun I’ve had these past few years, I begin feeling overwhelmed with nostalgia.
But then again, is anyone ever truly 100 percent ready to trade in their textbooks and T-shirts for a cap and gown? Graduating from college is scary, whether you do it in three years or five.
That’s the beauty of college; students can customize their own schedules and graduate at their own pace. Since it’s the end goal, graduating is not something to dread.
I’m beginning to realize that even if you happen to reach that goal early, it’s not something to fight, but rather, an accomplishment to embrace.
Maria Fischer is a junior studying journalism. Email her at email@example.com