BY KIMBERLY BENNETT
The last three and a half years of college at McKendree University have not been easy, but they were well worth it. When I started college as a freshman in fall 2011, I honestly had no idea what I was going to do. Because the importance of knocking down general education requirements was not explained nor specified very well, I ended up registering for classes I had wanted to take as opposed to classes I should have taken. My first semester of college was frustrating to no end. I remember feeling as though my time spent at McKendree was wasted – especially because I could not make up my mind as to what I wanted to do in life.
I am sure other students have faced this frustration as well.
To make up for my “wasted” semester, I took three classes at Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) during the summer of 2012. However, at that time, I was convinced that I wanted to go into education. When I attended my first observation in the spring of 2013, I quickly found out teaching wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against teachers; in fact, they have my highest regard when it comes to teaching and caring for children and teenagers for 40 hours a week. That is a big responsibility!
When I decided to drop the education tag to my English literature and writing degree, I was lost. I was still under the impression that education was the only substantial field for English majors. However, after taking Dr. Joy Santee’s Professions of the English Major, I figured out what I had wanted to do with my life. Instead of education, I wanted to go into publishing and editing because I absolutely love editing! Editing has always been a strong passion of mine; so why not use my skills full force? As each semester came, I registered for as many credits as I could in order to reduce my class requirements. I was always taking either 17 or 18 credits per semester (trust me, it can be done), and it really paid off.
Because I wanted to move forward and make the most out of my academic experience, I am able to graduate a semester early. In many ways, being able to graduate early has been more of a blessing than anything else: (1) I can use whatever money that was going towards my final semester to pay down my college loans; (2) I will have a head start in finding a job than many of the students graduating with me in May; (3) until I find a job, I will be able to sleep in and catch up on the sleep I have lost over the last three and a half years.
Simply stated, my advice to you is to take as many required classes as you can each semester and during the summer as well as strive hard to pass all of them. And if you can, attend a junior college first; you’ll be able to save a lot of money by attending community colleges before transferring to McKendree University. I’m not going to lie, each year, the tuition rate at McKendree increases every year.
If you consider doing any or all of these things, maybe you can graduate early as well.