Well, it’s here: the day I graduate college. A mixture of emotions are running through me right now. The most obvious one is happiness…or is it nervousness? I’m not too sure. The thing I know is that I’ve done a lot to get here. Story Time I grew up in an oh so small town of 8,100 people. As you can probably imagine, there wasn’t much to do there. I made it my mission to get out of the town and pursue great things in a (much) bigger city. So I set out to do just that. My high school had a partnership with a nearby community college that allowed high school juniors and seniors the ability to take college classes for FREE (all you had to pay for was the class textbooks). I thought, “This is my chance! I can start on college early, finish early, and get out into the real world sooner!”. At age 15, I signed up for my first set of college classes. The early college start agreement allowed students to take up to two classes per semester for free. I made sure to take advantage of this opportunity. I signed up for two college classes almost every semester of high school in addition to my AP high school classes. I had a goal of finishing college early and starting my career in the real world (who wouldn’t want to live their own live and have their own place, amiright?). Although I was happy to be pursuing my goal, there were challenges. You would expect the challenge to be a high schooler struggling with college level work. This was one of my challenges but not the biggest one. My biggest challenge at the time was that I was at a disconnect with people my age. Several of my friends and other people I interacted with wanted to play video games, watch Netflix, go to Starbucks, and the ever popular “hanging out”. Hanging out was the big one. People would see me doing work and go: “Colin, you need to chill out and relax! Just hang out!” Ugh. I hated it when people said that. Don’t get me wrong, I hung out with people and had fun but that seemed to be all that they wanted to do. Every so often I would check myself to see what goals I was working towards and what I had accomplished so far. Several of the people around me in high school weren’t the same way. “Man, I’m just trying to graduate, lol” “I’m relaxing and living in the moment!” Some people even got frustrated with me because they said I was “too motivated”. Long story short (even though you read already, haha) is that I had goals and was looked at as some weird person who (because I didn’t “hang out and relax” most of the time) didn’t know how to have fun. To people reading this, I want you to know something: If you have a goal, protect it. Work towards it and don’t let people bring you down. Whether you’re starting a business, starting freelancing, doing a blog, learning a new skill, or just trying to plan the type of life you want to live, it’s going to take time and investment. Your gut and intuition will tell you if you’re doing the right thing. I don’t advocate for being a workaholic but also don’t give in to never ending requests to have a night out, hang out, chill, and so forth. Just as importantly, when life happens, figure out a way to move forward.
There were tons of obstacles that stood in the way of me graduating college early (money, remedial classes, family obligations, personal health, mode of transportation, scheduling, etc. etc. etc.). Regardless of the obstacles, I did it. I’m graduating college today with my 4 year Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Mass Communications-Public Relations in only 2.5 years…at the age of 20. I’m freaking proud to say that I did that. Good luck to everyone, whether you’re graduating college and planning your life or if your deciding on a new direction in your life. I wish the best. Part 2 will be filled with graduation images (right now I’m just sitting in the campus library…waiting two hours before check-in starts). I leave you with this J.K Rowling quote. Although she is talking about writing, it can apply to a lot of things. If you have a passion project, are learning new skills, or whatever, keep this in mind. To excelsior and silver linings!