A 3 Step Guide to Graduating Early

College, man. When it all started right out of high school, it all seemed so bright and shiny, new and exciting. But, two to three years into it, as you near the end of your college career, college is just beat. Been there, done that. Screw going to class, doing homework, and studying up on the philosophy of bugs, the history of Dr. Seuss, and other college non-sense that you couldn’t care less about.

I had those thoughts. “I am not trying to be a doctor. School is not for me. I am so over it. This is pointless, I want to be done. I want to start my own business. I want to see the world.” But let’s face it, you have made it this far and your parents would freaking kill you if you dropped out now. So, you are going to finish. You will get that degree, and you will kick butt in the real world.

The real world to me means living every day doing the things I love, like traveling to exciting destinations.

Quick disclaimer inserted here – for those who adore college and never want it to end, you can stop reading now. But, if you are like me and have so many things you are ready to do, people you want to meet, and goals you strive to achieve – like now – then here’s how you can make those dreams happen sooner rather than later.  Get that shit done and graduate college early!

Step 1: Drop the BS Minor and Major

I have a secret to share, and it is something colleges simply don’t want you to know. Your degree … it doesn’t really matter. I mean, it’s a great resource to have, but in most cases, the specifics of it really don’t matter.  There I said it. Is your degree an important accomplishment? Of course! Will your grandparents frame a picture of you holding it and hang it above the fireplace? Probably! But will an employer demand to see a copy of it and want to know every detail of what you studied? Most likely not. The BS ^ would more appropriately stand for Bull Shit … not Bachelor of Science. I know that sounds harsh, but in my opinion, we put way too much stock in the degree itself during college and not enough focus on real life experience. That’s what really matters.  That’s what really makes you shine! Prospective employers want you to have experience, drive and ambition.  They want you to make them money, to bring them value, and they don’t give a rat’s ass that you minored in History or have a double major in Philosophy and Children’s Studies.

Freshman year of college I added a Marketing Minor to my Corporate Communications & Information Design Major, which also added a whole boat load of additional courses I would need to take in order to finish my degree. I graduated with a Marketing Major, which will take me anywhere I choose to go.

So, why add to the misery of taking extra college courses and beefing up your Major/Minor count when, in the end, nobody really cares? Bite the bullet, finish your required courses and get out there in the real world and make things happen. Graduate early, get your first job or start a business, travel the world, and live the life of your dreams!

Step 2: Be as Uninvolved as Humanly Possible

Before people read this and think I’m an antisocial jackass, let me be clear. Speaking as the former class president of my high school, dance team captain, and competitive dancer … I did it all in high school. And I even thought I would do the same in college, and believe me, when I first got there, I tried.

Studying abroad in Dublin, Ireland changed my perspective, my priorities and my life!

But as soon as I traveled abroad first semester of Sophomore year, I realized that all those extracurricular activities mean squat in college.  Sure, you can gain friendships, leadership skills, and build a community; but you can also earn those things in other more exciting and adventurous ways. A backpacking trip across Australia, an off-campus job, attending a business conference, or launching a business of your own. Accomplishing things outside of your college campus broadens your horizons and creates challenges that you otherwise may not have encountered on campus.

With your eye on the prize – graduating early – if your goals during college are to be your own boss, start an exciting career, and live by your own rules, then these extracurriculars do not matter. There is NO ONE that will legitimately be impressed by them, no job you are applying to, and no resume you are trying to fill with “fashion club” or “National Society of Leadership”. Impress them with your resume overflowing with job experience, impress them with your well-traveled passport, your real life experience, and the difference you make in society, and most importantly always strive to impress YOURSELF!

Step 3: Take as Many Classes, as Fast as You Can

For me it was after studying abroad that I decided I was ready to move on from college life. I was ready to graduate, and ready to get out into the world. Upon returning home from spending four months studying in Dublin and literally traveling the world every weekend, I was ready for the next adventure. I started planning out where I wanted to go, what I wanted to see, what I wanted to learn. I had an intriguing case of the travel bug, but then I remembered that I still had 18 courses and 54 credits to complete before I could call myself a college graduate and head out into the world that was calling me so urgently. I decided right there and then that I wanted to get as much done as quickly as possible.

In my Junior year at Bentley I launched Sustainable Sippin’, an environmentally friendly metal straw company.

If you are feeling the same way, I have two words for you… online classes. They are cheaper than most college courses, quicker, and so much easier than the average class. I would literally sip on a frozen mudslide on vacation down the Cape while in my GB 420 class, and the majority of my classes did not even require you to be there at a certain time, all you had to do was complete the necessary requirements each week, you do not even need to put pants on, it is incredible. In addition to online courses I loaded up my schedule with 5 to 6 classes a week, did not get involved with irrelevant shit, and dropped my unnecessary minor.

As I sit here in sunny California where I am attending a business conference and writing this blog, I am also finishing up my last winter intensive course that completes my college course requirements!  I am officially DONE with college and now heading off on a month-long travel adventure to Australia and New Zealand.  When I return home to Boston in early March, I will have my entire life ahead of me – unchartered territory that I have some amazing things planned for. I will continue to build the business that I launched during my Junior and Senior year in college. I will work to help continue building my family’s two business.  I will explore other professional opportunities that are of interest to me. I will definitely start planning my next travel adventures.  But more importantly, I will have finished college in 3.5 years, saving money, time and unnecessary stress in my life.

Carpe Diem people.

So, my friends, let me tell you, if you have an urge to get out of school and do something bigger than class and basement frat parties, something bigger than the average and the expected, something bigger than yourself, then I encourage you to listen to your heart (and me), finish that course load, and get out there and live life to the fullest. Because if I can do it, you can too!