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I willingly gave up a semester of college. On purpose. Without being asked.

An advisor told me during my freshman year I would need over 5 years to graduate with two degrees and a minor. So I took planning my schedule into my own hands. I loaded up on classes that checked boxes both for the University Curriculum and for my major requirements. It was startling how difficult it was to find these types of courses. Starting with the fall of my sophomore year, I stuck to a strict map of classes that would get me to May 2017 Commencement with a diploma in my hand and no additional classes left.

SMU revised the UC though. It turned out that by the fall of my senior year, I’d run out of classes that I needed. So instead of filling my senior spring with random easy electives, I opted to turn my tassel in December.

There are certainly pros (save so much tuition money) and cons (being in the ouuside world before everyone else). I was not immediately on board. It was a pragmatic choice and, weirdly enough, one that gets a surprising about of discouragement.

When I tell someone that I am graduating in three-and-a-half-years, they say “oh that’s nice,” as if I’ve decided to join a commune and walk on my hands.

Most commonly, other students tell me that they could never do it. That college is too fun. Or they don’t know what they want to do. Or they still aren’t ready to be an adult.

I feel the same way. I love college. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I still call my dad every week with some question about how to “adult.” 

According to Forbes.com, the average millennial changes jobs every 4.4 years. This statistic indicates not only a change for the tradition of working at the same place for decades. As it turns out, its actually ok—normal even—to not know an exact career path. 

As for the rest of it, I am a strong believer that you have to step up to some challenges. Figuring out what I’m going to do without the structure of semesters and the constant stream of activities will be weird but I am lucky to have five extra months to establish myself. Maybe I’ll launch into working. Maybe I’ll volunteer. Maybe I’ll travel around. Maybe, maybe, maybe, what if, maybe.

Courtsey of Giphy.com

Graduating early is not for everyone. However, I would like to formally request fewer raised eyebrows, fewer nay-sayers, and influx of support. In fact, if a college is really preparing students to be true world changers, graduating early should be regarded as proof of an institution’s effectiveness. Food for thought.

Hannah Claire Brimelow is a Junior at Southern Methodist University, majoring in English and Communication Studies and minoring in French. After her December 2016 graduation, Brimelow intends to continue on to law school and, eventually, work on international adoption policy and children's rights issues. When not writing for Her Campus SMU, she enjoys traipsing around around the world and pretending she's a Texas native.
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