Junior? No, I am a Senior!
By Emily Southern--Eagle Staff Writer
In high school, it takes four years to earn all of the classes, qualifications, and credits to be able to finally graduate and continue to college… or so I thought.
What many don’t know is that students can compress those four years into three. It’s possible to double up on classes and graduate a full year early, even with an advanced diploma.
My name is Emily Southern and I’m supposed to be a junior for the 2022 school year. Instead, I’m now a senior. I leave when administration dismisses the seniors, I can sit outside for lunch, and I can even exempt my exams at the end of the year, but most importantly, I’m graduating in May 2022 instead of 2023.
I decided to graduate early when I was in 9th grade. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get ahead in college so I can start my career and be successful as soon as possible.
In order to be able to graduate early, students like me must “double up” on core classes such as English and math. Instead of taking electives, I took at least two classes of the same subject each year. This year I only had one elective class while most students had four.
Some individuals might think that electives are incredibly useful. I however think that if a person knows exactly what career he/she wants to enter then electives are a waste of time. For some students, electives might be exactly what they need to be able to get experience in multiple fields. I knew exactly what I wanted to do - become a news anchor - so I felt as though I should get to college as soon as possible and use my time actually getting my degree so I could move on to bigger and better things.
However, there’s a catch. I’m not able to graduate with my friends. I sit in classes with people I’ve never met before and am taking on a large amount of instruction. I am always the last senior to know about senior activities. Additionally, at the beginning of the school year, all of the seniors received an email about when we take our yearbook pictures, except me. Thankfully, I found out from social media, but I had to go all the way to the actual studio in Roanoke just to take my picture for the yearbook.
Many think that I am missing out on the “high school experience” since I am not graduating with everyone that I have grown up with, and while part of me is sad about not graduating with my friends, I know that once I begin college I'll meet even more amazing people. Nonetheless, I feel as though I'm graduating with a group of strangers. When I toss that cap into the air, I won’t be able to run up and hug my friends until after the ceremony. However, I know they will still be in the stands supporting me.
I’ve struggled with these thoughts this entire year, but I believe that after achieving my dream of news reporting it will all be worth it. I'm taking advantage of a great opportunity that I have created for myself over the past four years.
I highly recommend graduating a full year early, but only if you are passionate about your career because if not, you’ll miss out on precious memories that you will never get back. I would rather regret graduating early than regret not chasing my dream.