Rewind a few years to the spring of 2010, when I met with my advisor to decide what I wanted to do with my last fall semester. He told me I needed just 12 credits to graduate, so if I wanted to, I could be done with school a semester early. I thought about it for a hot second then decided to just go for it. Less debt? Less job competition? Sold. You may be wondering why I would do such a thing. I wondered the same.
I spent most of my final semester in rural western New York regretting the rush to get out. Senior year was about (kind of) slacking off and enjoying those last months with your friends, with little to no real adult responsibility. And I only had half the time my friends had to do this. I will say I made those three and a half months count though…I was one of the last of my friends to turn 21, so we made a big to-do over that. I also selfishly dragged my friends out to the bar whenever I wanted, because it was MY LAST SEMESTER.
I was fortunate to have a job all lined up within days of graduating in December, but acquiring real adult status was well, different. I was no longer surrounded by my friends and unlimited dining hall food, with nothing but naps, Netflix and okay, some homework on the horizon. I had to get up at 7:30 a.m. and spend all day at work with strangers. I spent my first few post-grad months living at my parents’ (which was great, and sometimes I’d rather go back to living with them) but moved to my own apartment shortly after.
A few months go by, I become good (and eventually best) friends with my coworkers and still stay in touch with my college friends as they get ready to graduate. I went back a few times to visit, but being on campus was strange. I came back to be all “officially” graduated, cap and gown and all, and joined my friends one last time before we went our separate ways. Love and miss my Bonnies, and former coworkers.
Looking back, I went through a roller coaster of regret for leaving the carefree college environment early. But these days, I’m glad I did. I immediately got a job, an apartment and a hefty student loan bill…but got a jump start on adulthood. Now almost four years later, I’ve had three jobs in two cities, moved 300 miles from home and met so many great people along the way.