Why Graduating Early Is the Best Choice I Ever Made

Okay, so I didn’t graduate that early. Just one semester ahead. I strutted the stage on December 14th, 2018 and haven’t looked back since. While I obviously needed the university I went to so that I could obtain the type of education I wanted, my best life was not spent there. In fact, I’m convinced life will keep getting better as it has since I graduated. (I studied Public Relations and Spanish, since you asked). I’ve encountered a lot of people who seem scared of what lies on the other side of college life. Although I was ready to get out school long before I finished it, I know those fears. College, especially for those who live on campus, is a safe and easy space. Your friends are likely all around within easy reach, there’s (hopefully) fun events to attend, your classes are equipping you for your future career, your routine is set, and on and on it goes. While my last semester of school was, quite honestly, ridden with anxieties about the upcoming transition, my future job, and if I would still see my friends, life after college has proven to be exponentially better than the day-to-day routine of college life. My reflections are obviously very fresh, but I share them with you hoping you’ll feel less pressured to immediately rush into post-graduate studies or to move off campus with a bunch more of your college friends to achieve the same lifestyle you had while in school. Here are a few reasons why post-grad life is truly better than all your college years combined:

  1. You Can Live At Home or By Yourself!

I chose to move back home after school because I had not (and still haven’t; I’ll get to that) secured a full-time gig upon graduation. Sadly, not everyone has the means to live with family, but if you can, do it! Our culture is quite unusual in that, after age eighteen, many kids move out for good and never return. But this isn’t the norm by any means. You’ll have years to live alone or with your spouse in the coming years, but you likely will never again have this opportunity to live life with your family. Take advantage! Also, they probably won’t charge you as much rent as a landlord would. Other options include staying with a host family who offers up a bedroom to you, or learning to enjoy alone time by getting a place to yourself after years of having housemates/roommates. Which brings me to,

2. You get to be alone.

Shockingly, I’m an extrovert. One of my anxieties about graduation was knowing that I would be moving back home while a lot of my friends remained on campus, and I probably wouldn’t see them as much. We’ll talk about that in a minute, but the truth is, I have been spending more time by myself. In the solitude, there is opportunity for stillness I rarely had while in college. I’m reading books again, taking walks outside, writing more, and praying more. Loneliness is a scary threat for me, but I feel more emotionally mature and grounded by living with less external stimulation and resting with myself. When I remember that this time won’t last forever, and that I’ll soon be married with a job, I’m that much more eager to make living in stillness a habit that I can carry with me. College is a season just like all the other parts of life, and you can look forward to unemployment and/or living at home as temporary times that will improve you.

3. You Can Survive Without School or a Job

As stated, I am still diligently looking for full-time employment. Just a heads up, finding a job really is a pain in the butt, so I’d start looking now if you’re a senior in college. Interviews are finally happening and that’s a huge relief in itself, but again, by choosing to live at home and living minimally, I’m surviving on my freelancing right now. Again, you have the rest of your life to work, and in my case, it’s literally been two months since graduating and leaving my university job, and that’s such a small window to enjoy in the grand scheme. In addition to being able to enjoy life without a full-time job, (although I’ll be over the moon when I get one, don’t get me wrong,) I can still learn lots of wonderful things without being in school. I sometimes gave the impression when I would dream aloud to my friends about how ready I was to graduate that I wasn’t enthusiastic about education. I might have believed that for a while, but since finishing school, I’ve realized that education was never the problem. I was simply ready to be done having my education dictated to me and always having a mountain of work to do. My degree is in PR, but in the work that I’ve been doing since graduation, a lot of the tactics I employ come from things I’ve learned simply by watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, and doing free workshops. I’ve continued my education, but on my own time.

4. You See More of Your Friends

Again, this might just be true for me right now because I don’t have a full-time job. But since I am in control of my time now and I’m not buckled down by homework every evening, I’ve been enjoying a lot more quality time with my close friends than I ever did in college. It helps that a lot of my friends have finished their education also, but it’s still surprising how much time is freed up when not in school. Not only do I continue to visit with my friends from college who are still there, but without homework buckling me down on the nights and weekends, it feels like I’m enjoying regular quality time with my best friends for the first time since 2015.

If you chose to go to college, I hope that they were/continue to be wonderful years in your life. But they do not have to be the “best four years of your life,” and honestly, wouldn’t it be sad if they were when you think about how much more life you have left to live? I don’t want you to feel stuck in school itself or the fear that life gets worse after you walk the stage. All of these parts are just stages, and you are able to finish your college years thankful for the times you had and optimistic about the future. Take a break, read for fun, or go on a trip. You deserve to grow. Are you afraid of what lies after graduation or are you currently enjoying the post-grad life? Are there any anxieties about finishing school you want me to talk about? I want to chat with you in the comments!

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1 Comment

  1. Meredith Rose
    February 13, 2019 / 2:03 pm

    Hey Karoline! This was so encouraging to read. I’ve been wondering lately whether or not setting myself up to graduate early was the right decision or not. Taking 15 hours of upper-level courses sure is harder than just 12. This post really helped me see that in the end, my hard work will pay off. I’m definitely looking forward to having a season to learn, grow, and just breathe after college.

    Miss seeing you in the Writing Center but so glad to hear about this wonderful new chapter in your life!

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