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My Fear of Graduating Early With No Future Plan

Coming into college as a freshman, I did think about graduating a year early just to get out of school earlier. Now in my second year, I’ve found out that there is a chance that I can finish my undergraduate education in three years. Before, I didn’t even think leaving college early was an option, but now that my third year is approaching, it finally feels real and the idea of leaving college and truly making progress toward my career aspirations seems even scarier. I’d feel much better if I had some idea of what I plan to do after college, but the reality is that I have no concrete plan after graduation. 

Image by Stocksnap from Pixabay

I did plan to take at least one gap year after graduation to explore the medical field in hopes of applying to medical school. If I do potentially take a gap year, I still don’t know what I’d do within this year. I want to apply to various positions in terms of job experience, research, or shadowing opportunities, but I don’t even know if I’d get any acceptances. Perhaps I could use this gap year to improve upon my resume and add more experiences to qualify for more opportunities. Because I have no concrete future plan, I could also potentially use this gap year to explore my interests and find new hobbies.

person writing notes while reading a textbook
Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

I’ve been so used to having school fill up most of my day that just thinking about not going to school for a year seems unreal. The last two years in college have kept my days busy with attending classes, doing assignments, and participating in extracurricular activities. Unfortunately, I know that choosing to graduate early for a gap year will cut these experiences short by a year. This is one reason I fear finishing school early: I won’t know what to do with all the free time. Another reason is that finishing undergraduate education means that I’ll truly be an adult in the real world in terms of being independent and leading my life toward my aspirations. 

Photo via Pixabay on Pexels

I’ve always been excited by the idea of finishing school early, but now that it’s actually a possibility, that excitement has seemed to wear off. I wish I started the four-year college plan when I was a freshman so that I would have at least some idea of what I’ll do in the future. Maybe this gap year will benefit me with the opportunity to explore unknown interests and to gain more experience in working toward my career. Although I’m scared of what’s to come in the unknown future, I am excited for the opportunity to try new things and to learn more about what I want to do. But who knows, I might just continue my undergraduate education as a fourth year.

Although summer might not be ideal, there are always things to do to make it feel just right. Whether it be movie nights, picnic dates, or painting sessions, any activity is worth doing over summer. I’ve only listed five things on my bucket list that I want to accomplish this summer, but I know there are going to be more activities that pop up in the future. Personally, putting things down physically makes me more motivated to accomplish them when I see that I have a list that I absolutely need to complete. Summer is a time to relax and remember, and hopefully with my bucket list, I can make memories that I’ll never forget.

Jamie Vu

UCLA '23

Jamie is a second year student at UCLA. She loves to listen to music and enjoys going to concerts and listening to artists live. During her free time, she likes to go out and explore.
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