Early graduates share experiences


Will Ash/Iowa State Daily

Students who plan on graduating early have to hit the books hard, especially for their general education courses. With some of those text books being large and heavy, the are not comfortable to carry everyday. 

Mackensie Moore

There are many options for students at Iowa State when it comes to graduation. While some students choose to graduate in four years or attend graduate school, there are some students who choose to graduate early, in three and a half years or less.

For the students who decide to graduate early, lots of time and planning is required. It can sometimes be a stressful process getting the correct amount of credits in less time.

For Katie Goodell, senior in communication studies, the experience has been nothing but stressful.

“Graduating in three and a half years is the worst decision I could have made in college,” Goodell said. “I have been extremely stressed, and my health has suffered.”

But this is not true for all early graduates. Some students take college-credit classes in high school, making for an easier early graduation process. 

Deanna Williams, senior in English, chose to graduate early because of the 32 college credits she accumulated in high school. This gave her an academic edge and allowed her to graduate early.

“I have no other classes to take, so why not finish early?” Williams said.

Another factor that can accumulate stress is a student’s individual major. As an English major, William’s classes consist of a lot of writing, which become time-consuming at times.

“I had three to four English classes at a time, so when I had a paper due, it was really four papers that were due,” Williams said. “That was difficult at times, especially because they were all due at the same time, but doable.” 

Goodell took a lot of online classes to graduate early.

“It was extremely difficult,” Goodell said. “I was taking three online classes. Online classes, in general, require a lot of extra busy work — more so than regular classes — and that took a toll.”

There are some perks to graduating early, though. Goodell took early graduation as an opportunity to begin a career earlier than students who graduate in four years.

“I got a jumpstart in finding a full-time job, which has given me the opportunity to start paying back my loans earlier,” Goodell said.

But not every individual’s experience is the same. Williams has not had the same experience with acquiring a job.

“I have already applied to countless places, only to be ignored,” Williams said. “I suffer from the vicious circle of job hunting — you need experience for a job, but you need a job to gain experience.”

When it comes to advice, Williams advises not to live in student housing when graduating early. She is required to be out of her Schilletter and University Village apartment the same day as the graduation ceremony. 

“I wish they would give us one more day after we graduate to vacate,” Williams said. “It’s going to be a very hectic Saturday.”

The university’s fall 2013 commencement ceremony will be on Saturday, Dec. 21, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum.