Lessons You Learn When Graduating Early

As someone who is graduating early in December, I often get asked how I did it. Graduating in four years is difficult, but three and a half? Apparently, it's a big deal. This semester has been the one where I have really taken time to reflect on what I have done with my time at college, and I've found that my last semester of my undergraduate career has taught me more about myself than most semesters. Graduation is exactly 40 days away for me and here are some lessons I've learned during my last semester.

1. Your parents will never actually know what year you are.

(Photo by Emily Morter)

My parents have known that I would be graduating early since I realized it. Academically, I have been a semester ahead since my second year and when friends asked my parents what year I was, they’d have to put some serious thought into their answer. Don’t get upset if they ask you for the tenth time or give them a reminder every once and awhile.


2. Seriously consider living on campus.

(Photo by IUP)

I know it's not ideal, but unless you can find an apartment that offers a single semester lease, it may end up being cheaper. Even with the meal plan and the additional fees. If you sign a lease for a full academic year, you’ll either have to find someone to take it or you’ll be paying for an apartment that you may not be using.


 3. You need a hobby.

(Photo by Rawpixel)

If you’re graduating in December, you probably don’t have as many classes to take as you or your friends normally would. That being said—get a hobby. Remember how busy you were last semester? That's how busy they're going to be and you will often find yourself bored. Netflix is great, but find a hobby you really enjoy because you will be spending a decent amount of time with nothing to do.


4. Apply to grad school and jobs now.

(Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters)

Even if you aren't looking to go to grad school until the next Fall semester, applying early can prevent any serious problems from stopping you before you actually get started. Use some of your free time to look and apply to graduate programs or jobs because it could make a huge difference in the way your life goes.


5. The senioritis is real and your usual habits probably won't work.

(Photo by J Zamora)

I am a person who hates working in the library. I have willingly gone to the library more this semester than probably in my entire college career. I had to change my routine to be the productive. If you're normally a productive person, don't be shocked by the sudden lack of motivation and how appealing Netflix is ALL the time.


Whether you're graduating early or late or on time, be proud that you are graduating because it is a huge accomplishment. Be proud of your hard work because college is difficult in more ways than one. It doesn't matter when you finish your degree, all that matters is you finish it and that you are happy. When it comes to your education, always do what's best for you.

To my fellow December 2018 graduates--we're finished (at least for now)! Congratulations!