17 Things Students Who Graduate Early Will Understand

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Photo by Kevin Waldron

College students know it’s hard enough to graduate on time, let alone early, but some of us are on a different path and kick things into high-gear so we can get our diplomas sooner. It isn’t easy, but we stick to the plan of attack come whatever may. And with a few heavier course loads and a lot of determination, we finish up a semester or two early feeling on top of the world.

Anyone who’s been there knows our lives are a little bit different than our fellow students on the normal 4-year timeline. There are certain things only we can understand, and for that, we share a special bond.

  1. There is no such thing as an “easy” semester for you. You have a full or overloaded course load every time, even as a senior.
  2. If you’re like me and only graduating one semester early instead of two, you wish you’d gotten yourself going sooner so you could graduate two semesters early.
  3. Free time? What’s that?
  4. Maintaining a decent GPA is twice as hard.
  5. You’ve inevitably had those full days that start with 8am classes and end with a night class, at least once every semester.
  6. People assume you’re really smart, but honestly, it was more about taking on extra workloads than anything else.
  7. People get really confused when your age and your class don’t match up (You’re 20 but you’re a senior???).
  8. You’ve come to accept the inevitability of all-nighters.
  9. Your time here with your favorite professors and classmates is all the more precious since you’re leaving sooner.
  10. People who say college goes by in the blink of an eye don’t know the half of it.
  11. You’ve been forced at least once to cram some of the most labor-intensive classes for your major into the same semester.
  12. You felt like a boss when you made it out of that semester alive, and with good grades too.
  13. You have a special bond with your adviser who helped you make graduating early possible. Without them, you would’ve gone crazy trying to put your schedules together.
  14. You’re a master at packing a whole day’s worth of meals into one lunch box since you often wind up spending entire days on campus.
  15. You are the ultimate multi-tasker, and your time management skills are incomparable.
  16. You learned to embrace planners and calendars to keep your plethora of deadlines straight.
  17. You know graduating early isn’t for everyone, but for you, it was worth it.
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Why Silence Isn’t Golden in the Classroom

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Photo from Utica College

 

Nobody likes being forced to talk. We all despise those dreaded ice breakers and introductions we’re put through on the first day of classes. It’s a complex battle of trying to sit calmly waiting for our turn while also internally stressing over what we’re going to say.

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Source: IWasteSoMuchTime.com

But do we honestly expect to sit through an entire class in silence, never having to speak or acknowledge each others’ existence? Before I started at UC in 2011, I had a glamorized idea of what each new class would be like: everyone would be friendly and outgoing, happily introducing themselves and eager to make new friends. Now, that’s not to say there aren’t people like this, but way too many of my classes, especially larger ones, have been filled with silent, stone-faced students.

It’s strange because you’ll then spot some of those same complacent people outside of class acting loud and personable, and you’ll wonder why they shut off when they enter the classroom. I know it’s hard to be the one to raise your hand or to start up a conversation, but somebody’s got to do it. And there’s nothing more awkward than a class-full of people who refuse to speak.

Frankly, it’s uncomfortable for everyone involved. The professor asks a question, and tense silence ensues when no one responds. It’s not even that we don’t know the answer. A lot of the time, it’s a simple question, but we just don’t speak up. Why? Are we all socially awkward?

Probably not. Perhaps we don’t want to be THAT person who answers every question, or most of the time, we’re afraid of sounding foolish. Even the smartest people are susceptible to screwing up an answer to an easy question. But if no one talks at all, not just when it comes to answering questions but participating in discussions as well, then class is 10 times more awkward and a thousand times more boring than it needs to be.

We all just need to loosen up a bit. No one’s going to judge you if you laugh at the professors’ jokes, or at the very least, crack a smile for once (some professors are quite amusing at times). Plus, you’ll make the professor feel better, and the rest of the class might feel at ease about letting their guard down too. Not to mention, professors love students who choose to participate. So why not take an easy opportunity for getting on their good side and maybe boosting your grade?

I don’t know about you, but I won’t tolerate the second half of the semester being so cold (and I don’t mean temperature-wise). I know it’s easy to think everyone’s judging you, but they really couldn’t care less. So raise your hand once in a while, say “hi” to that kid next to you, and crack a smile at your professor’s attempt at hilarity (whether or not they’re successful).

 

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