Reality of Graduating

Inside_TCF_StadiumFrom previous blog posts you know that I recently graduated from the University of Minnesota. Because I entered college with 14 credits, took summer classes, and had an extra work load per semester, I was able to graduate in 3 years. Still not sure if I’m crazy or wise for actually accomplishing that? During conversations I’ve received both positive and negative feedback; people either say “why would you do that?!” or “holy crap, good for you, wish I would have done that.” So here’s the explanation, to the people wondering, as to why I chose to cut short what supposedly is the ‘best time of your life’ –

My senior year of high school, I chose to take part in a program called Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO). So for the first semester of my senior year I took classes at a local community college. The reason I did that? It was completely free. Classes. Books. Everything. Free! Looking back I wish I would have done that for both my junior and senior year but can’t change the past, right?

With the completion of PSEO, I entered college in September of 2012 with 14 liberal education credits under my belt. Completely unaware of what I was doing I listened to my college advisor and enrolled in only 13-14 credits for both semesters of my freshman year. Yet another thing I wish I could have done differently. 13 credits? I was constantly twiddling my thumbs!!

Fast forward to before sophomore year, I was sitting with my new advisor and we were discussing my potential class schedules. (If you haven’t experienced registering for college classes yet, get excited. It’s close to the easiest most relaxing thing you’ll ever do!!!!!) I had recently declared my major as Communication Studies so I at least had an idea of what classes I needed to enroll in. We were in the middle of talking when she said, “you know, you could graduate quite early if you added a larger work load per semester.” For some reason, graduating early hadn’t really crossed my mind, even with taking part in PSEO. College is the best time of your life and 4 years is what it takes — that’s what was stuck in my brain. I went home and immediately started using the resources they offer to plan out the remainder of my semesters.

Fast forward to end of sophomore year, still on track to graduating a semester early, I sat down to plan my junior year and realized if I really added extra classes – 18 credits for 2 semesters to be exact – I could graduate 2 semesters early finishing my college career in August of 2015. Absolutely ecstatic, I met with my advisor and she agreed. We created a plan so I would be set to graduate in August.

Fast forward (last one, I promise) to the end of my first semester of junior year when I was planning out my second semester – that’s a mouthful – I was staring at an 18 credit spring semester and a 2 credit summer semester plan.

I had everything figured out. I was going to take 2 credits at the University of Minnesota during the summer while having a full time internship and living at my apartment on campus. Well, as you’ve read in my recent posts, living at my apartment was extremely unrealistic. Also, working a full time job and taking classes during the summer is an absolute nightmare. Everyone is out having fun while you’re at work all day then nope you can’t go join them after work because you have to go home and do homework. I did that the previous summer and knew I didn’t want to go through that again.

So, I added on 2 extra credits ending with a whopping 20 credits for my final semester of college. This is where my “I think I’m crazy” thoughts come from. I showed my plan to my advisor and she approved.

Then it hit me. I was going to graduate college a full year early. Entering college in September of 2012 and graduating in May of 2015.

11692493_10153435271764732_838652460257016010_nThen something else hit me. This next semester would be my last semester of college, forever — I have no plans on going to grad school — A wave of emotion overcame me, college had gone by so unbelievably fast! It felt like yesterday that I was texting my freshman roommate coordinating who brings what and attending the janky Super Block parties during Welcome Week. My college career had lived up to the saying “time flies by when you’re having fun.” Although I was very ready to graduate and move on to the next chapter of my life, I was a little overwhelmed. I started thinking is this how the rest of my life is going to be? Are the next 3 years going to go by as fast as the last 3? The older I’m getting the time seems to go by faster and faster. I know, and I’m only 21.

It’s very cliche but I then realized that I really can’t take anything for granted. Each and every day is a gift and – sorry – but you truly only live once! If something sour happens, I make sure to acknowledge my feelings but do my best to get over it as fast as I can because there’s just no point to dwell on it. It happened and you can’t change it so get over it. Sounds harsh and sometimes things will happen where that theory just doesn’t apply but (sorry another cliche saying) there’s no reason to sweat the small stuff!

If you try your best to live by those sayings then I promise you will be able to see the glass half full at all times. And that is now how I view my situation. There’s no reason to be sad that it’s over and scared that time is going too fast. I had so much fun and I wouldn’t take any day back if I could because it’s shaped me into the person I am now. Also, if I continue to be stressed that time is going too fast I won’t be able to actually enjoy what’s happening!

In all, I chose to cut my college experience down from the typical 4 years but that doesn’t take away from the ‘best years of my life.’ Sure, if I was still in school I would continue to be having an amazing time but I’m ready to move on to a career and in the end that’s what will make me happy.

Besides, how do I know that the last 3 years will be the best of my life if I haven’t been able to live anything else, yet? I believe that I can make whatever year I want to be the best if I choose to! My happiness is up to me and that’s all that matters. Happiest, healthiest self, right?!

Thanks for the read ❤

with love | Madelyn

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