Why I’m Graduating From College Early (and 5 Lessons I’ve Learned)

Graduating from college early comes with many stigmas – some positive, some negative. Here are 3 reasons why I chose to graduate early and 5 lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Graduating from college early comes with many stigmas - some positive, some negative. Here's 3 reasons why I chose to graduate early and 5 lessons I've learned along the way.

When people find out I’m graduating early, I get a lot of mixed responses. Some are excited for me. Some think I’m stupid for wasting my youth or something. Am I crazy for wanting to graduate college a year and a half early? Maybe. But, as I head towards the end of my college career, I don’t regret anything and am excited to start a new chapter of my life.

Graduating early from college was a personal decision that came down to two major reasons for me: time and money. Everyone graduates early for different reasons. Here are mine.

1. I’m saving money.

Room and board, meal plans, tuition – the college experience comes at a hefty price. Personally, I’d much rather use that extra money towards travel or the less luxurious putting a down payment on a house (boring, I know).

For me, I think money was the most frustrating experience of college. Many of my peers are thousands of dollars into debt, and yet cannot tell me the price of attending college or how much they owe in loans. College can be necessary for some industries, but we are doing the next generation a huge injustice by not giving them the tools to make educated choices about college.

We MUST teach our students how much debt they are incurring, how to read the fine print, how to understand what they’re signing and give them resources to make educated decisions on whether or not they should go to college. We must stop looking at a college degree as the only path to success. We must stop looking down at community colleges, trade schools, or entrepreneurship.

2. I’m saving time.

My college experience was filled with juggling an above-average course load (typically 18 credit hours, with 24 credits being the peak) and a full-time job. By putting in the extra effort for certain seasons of my life, I’ll be saving myself quite a few hours in the future.
For example, in the semester I took 24 credit hours, and six of those credits were online at community college. Since they were both intensive courses, six hours of classroom work would only take me about 1-2 hours, saving me 4 hours every week.

3. I’m ready to.

I started my first business at 15 and ever since then, I knew I wanted to pursue entrepreneurship as a career. I loved the flexibility of the job, and the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and innovators. Because of this jumpstart in my career, college was never a necessity to make my dream a reality. I did it as a formality, and because of advice of trusted adults.

I’m ultimately saving over $20,000 and leaving myself more free time to pursue my blog and even start some hobbies. I’m so very thankful for all of the different opportunities I’ve been given in life and want to spend life chasing those instead of sitting in a classroom. Instead of “losing” a year and a half, I feel like I’m actually gaining that time to pursue so much more than a college campus!

This was a largely personal decision; everyone’s life is different! My nursing student friends wouldn’t be able to take 24 credit hours in a semester. Some students involved in sports with high scholarships want to go the full four years. There are a lot of reasons to stay in college for four years, but those weren’t for me!

5 Lessons I’ve Learned Graduating Early

1. Take time for yourself.
This spring semester was the first time in around two years that I actively had enough time to take “me” time. Fortunately, I loved my job and my professors, and I found creative ways to combine “relaxing time” with work. (watching TV while doing repetitive work)
Still, I’ve learned that purposefully making time for myself can help me recharge better.

2. Be intentional.
Since you won’t be in college for the full four years, it’s important to take advantage of different opportunities! I purposefully chose a school without a party atmosphere, and honestly the party scene (or social scene in general? haha) just wasn’t for me.

3. Don’t be afraid to stick out.
Graduating early makes you stick out, especially in the job market. Own it!

4. Be creative.
Entrepreneurship requires creativity. If I release a product that flops, I immediately rethink “what went wrong” and plan accordingly when I release a new product. I don’t fail the same way multiple times; I’m constantly adapting my methods to the consistently changing world of technology. With my busy schedule, I’ve had to get creative to cram everything in there. I’ve had to get creative with finding free time or carving out time with friends.
Whether it’s with your job, graduating early, or personal life – get creative! Bounce ideas off friends and don’t worry about what others might think.

5. The work will always be there.
I seem to find myself in a revolving door. Every time I finish a product, I have another one waiting. Over the past year, I’ve learned there will always be work. So, take advantage of today! This may not work if you’re stressed with school, but I’ve learned to be less of a control freak in my business and outsource some work. I’m still 100% in control of everything I stick my brand name on, but I’ve learned to accept help when I need it.

So, that’s it! Are you graduating early? How and why? Leave your comments below!

Check out the other articles in my college series!

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  • Hello Samantha, I’m happy for you and most probably going to follow your footsteps. I’m a college student now, but I intend to graduate next year (in my fourth semester)
    My story is more like yours, thanks for the motivation. However I started a business just recently but so far it’s going on well.