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How I’m Figuring out College While Trying to Graduate Early

When I entered my university, I was bringing in 30 credits to my name. These credits equal an entire year in my school so learning this, I was determined to graduate in three years to make the 30 credits worth it. This meant I have to look at my college life as a year ahead of what I am. So, I entered school with the title ‘sophomore’ even though I was a first-year. So, my first semester was filled with meetings with the Career Center, my first-year advisor, the Dean of my Department (thanks for not judging my tears Dr. Dooghan) and making a 4-year plan into a 3-year plan. I had to take all my school requirements as well as my major and minor requirements in 3 years instead of 4. Easy right? Yeah… I don’t think so either. 

But, I lucked out in several ways. I am in college as a Writing major. This means that my Major requirements are english, writing, and literature-based courses. In High School, I loved English and got 4s and 5s on my two AP English exams. That means I did not have to take Freshman English (known at UTampa as AWR 101 and 201). I also got a 4 in my AP US History exam, clearing out my history requirement, and making my history class first semester count even more towards finishing requirements early. Also, being a Liberal Arts major meant I got to take the easiest math class at the University, passing with a 100. All these meant I only had 3 requirements left after my first year of college—two sciences and a humanities. The two sciences I took at my local University at home in little ol’ Massachusetts. Both classes together cost the same as one class at UT, saving me time and money. Now I only have 3 more credits left of the graduation requirements—humanities—and I have 3 semesters and 2 summers left to complete it.

However graduating early is not easy. You have barely any flexibility when it comes to classes you need to take, and no room for fun or easy classes to relax in. All of my classes for the next two years are literature, writing, sociology, and/or english. Each semester I am taking one sociology class, 2-3 writing classes, and one literature class—no ifs nor buts about it. I need to make good relationships with my professors now, not having an extra year to accumulate relationships. I made a Linkedin earlier than most of my classmates, am networking with other people in my major, and in clubs I think would help my resume and in the world around me.

Now here is the most important and daunting part about graduating early: what am I going to do when I graduate? Ha! Let me tell you this. When I first entered college, I wanted to work in publishing. I love editing and reading, and wanted to read manuscripts for the rest of my life. And then I met with Dr. Dooghan (refer above to whom he is and how he is a champion in dealing with the midlife crises of 19 year olds) who told me that the cesspool that is publishing companies is not worth it. So I changed my major—slightly. Instead of just a fiction writing major, I became a fiction AND technical writing major! We love making it harder for myself to graduate when I want to. So now I have more things to consider—such as what the hell I am going to do with my life. Technical Writing is the vaguest thing known to man, and most employers don’t even know what it actually means to hire a technical writer. So, I reached out to a few Technical Writing Professors. Dr. Reamer (who’s first name is David, making his email at the school Dreamer, which I LOVE) helped me see that I had so much potential in the tech writing field. Dr. Whiteside (a beautiful, kind woman who loves what she does, making me excited for every class I have with her) connected me with an old student of her’s—named Meigan. Meigan is the nicest human I have ever met, taking her time to answer my questions and laugh at my bad jokes. She told me that her path in college was the exact same as mine—and hearing that, knowing how successful she is now, made me breathe easier. 

And then this past weekend happened. I realized that my love of travelling was not  something I could just put on hold. So, I started to research ways I could work while exploring  the world. And then I found it. Teaching English as a second language to children in foreign countries. So right now, this is my dream. I need to get certified in certain areas, but I can leave for any country I want as soon as I graduate. Will this dream change? Hopefully not, but it may as the years press on and times change. And I will adjust my path as it comes. But something that will never change is my drive to save $30,000 and graduate earlier than I am supposed to.

College kid just trying to survive
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