Pros and Cons of Early Graduation
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Stuck in the middle

The pros and cons of mid-year graduation

By Kate Jameson | Copyeditor

 

Graduating mid-year makes practical sense but can leave students feeling isolated.

Graduating mid-year makes practical sense but can leave students feeling isolated.

That’s the number of days I have left here at Taylor. I’m graduating early, and I’m absolutely terrified. Luckily, I’m not the only one in the boat shipping out this December. A surprisingly large number of students choose to graduate at a time other than May. In fact, last year alone, 58 students graduated mid-year.

Graduation is a big deal. Leaving early can be tough decision for some. I can’t speak for every student who graduates mid-year, but I want to offer some insight into why I chose the timeline I did and some of the struggles I’ve faced because of it.

It wasn’t actually a hard choice for me. I’m majoring in Professional Writing, which only requires 47 credit hours for a Bachelor’s degree. I came in with nine credits. I’ve taken full course loads every semester, plus classes over J-term and a four-credit practicum during one summer. This semester, I only needed to take five classes to meet the 128-credit requirement, so early graduation was a realistic option.

The financial benefit is a nice perk, but the job market was the real reason I decided to graduate early. I’ll be applying for jobs months before the influx of spring graduates start looking for employment. I’m eager to get out there and start my career, especially after an incredible internship experience.

Even though early graduation was a simple choice for me, it hasn’t been easy in practice. We who graduate mid-year face a unique set of challenges. The most obvious drawback is that we’ll miss out on half of our last year at college, but, to be completely honest, that doesn’t really bother me. I’m not one for social events.

Senior year traditionally consists of two semesters, and I’ve noticed that people approach them differently. The first semester is full of excitement, potential, and a little bit of nostalgia. The second semester is when stress, panic and worry set in. Mid-year graduates are in an awkward position. While last year’s seniors worried through their last semester, I felt excitement. And while this year’s seniors look forward to the future, I’m panicking.

The worst part about being a mid-year graduate is the strange isolation. I don’t fit in with the people who graduated last spring or those who will graduate next May. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle. I’m starting to look for jobs while my other senior friends are settling in for the year. I’m trying make meaningful connections with the people I’ll soon be leaving, and they’re more focused on having fun before the semester gets too busy.

It might seem like I’m contradicting myself, but being a senior is confusing. I’m both excited and scared; it’s like a big knot of emotions.

I encourage you to find those friends who are graduating during the year and might be feeling like me. Take them out for coffee or meet them for lunch. Ask them how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do to help. Pray for them as they get ready to start their life after college. Give them a hug or a piece of chocolate when they’re busy or stressed. I know I’d appreciate those things and I think other mid-year graduates would too. But mostly, just be aware that they aren’t going to be here much longer.

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