Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Graduation is a time of your life overflowing with excitement and possibility but can also be rife with anxiety about the future and regret about the past. Did I do everything I wanted to do in school? Am I ready to be out in the real world? What am I going to do next? Graduating early can amplify these already normal feelings. I feel like I just got to college — am I even ready to graduate?

Why do people graduate early?

If you’re like me, you probably worked your butt off in high school doing some college prep program — Advanced Placement (AP), Dual Enrollment, or my personal favorite: International Baccalaureate (IB). Can you hear the sarcasm? These programs were probably pitched to you by highlighting how much they’ll help you when you finally get to college (“It’ll prepare you for college coursework!” or “You’ll go into college with so many credits!”).

While I don’t regret my time doing IB because I truly feel like it did prepare me for college coursework, it completely altered my college experience timeline. With some freshmen coming into college with as many as 30 college credits gained through participation in these programs, the “college experience” might not necessarily apply to you. At the beginning of college, while many of my friends were taking prerequisites and “experiencing college,” I was being bombarded with emails about declaring my major and doing coursework for it… as a freshman. It seemed like my timeline was so different from others, and it made me antsy to just slow down.

Sometimes people graduate early as a result of their performance in college. Choosing to fill one’s class load to the brim each semester and graduate within three or maybe even two years can be tantalizing to some in order to save money on tuition. But for others, the idea of having to graduate early feels like it has more downsides than upsides.

Anxiety or Anticipation?

While it seems like everyone around me is so excited to graduate, my anticipation takes the form of anxiety. For some, the fear they feel about the prospect of early graduation can be rooted completely in unease. Graduating early can make you feel a variety of different emotions. But good news! All these feelings of fear can be apprehended in some way or another. A perk of knowing I was going to graduate early since freshman year meant that I had the opportunity to figure out how I wanted to fill my shorter time in college. So here are some feelings I struggled with and how I chose to try to counteract them.


Sometimes graduating early has made me feel like I haven’t taken advantage of my years in college. Did I branch out enough? Did I do everything I wanted to? The good news is that, if you know you’re going to graduate early, you can start filling your schedule with everything you know you won’t want to miss out on! Go to that welcome festival on campus, join that club that you always wanted to, talk to that nice girl in class, and make a friend!


Graduating early has also made me feel like I’m not old or mature enough to be out in the real world. You may start to think about what your days will be like when you’re no longer in school. Maybe questions about where you’re going to work start popping up. It probably seems like everyone graduating alongside you is way more prepared in regard to the future than you are. Well, the enemy of anxiety is action, so start looking at careers that your major can field into and maybe apply for an internship or interview for a job! Take advantage of your college counselors and learn more about your interests and options.


You can start to doubt your abilities and wonder if you’ll even be able to function in the outside world. How will you handle working a 9-5? Or how will you make sure you plan time to focus on your physical and mental health? These insecurities can make you doubt your strength and poison how you look at yourself. Counteract it! Take courses and programs where you learn new things. Become marketable, learn popular programs such as Excel and Adobe, get certificates, and maybe even plan a mock-up of what a day in your life could be like!

Early graduation can play into so many different emotions. While it can be an exciting time filled with promise, it can also bring up many feelings of doubt and fear. Recognizing and accepting these feelings is important, and knowing you can take the steps to help counteract these feelings is critical! You got this, and congratulations graduate!

Want to see more HCFSU? Be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Pinterest!

Hey, I'm Chloe and I'm a senior at Florida State! I'm a staff writer at HerCampus FSU and a fun fact about me is that I'm also a certified lifeguard! I love hammocking and reading outside and I'm always down to go for a swim!