Why I Chose the Three-Year Option – Shelby Cook
Originally, choosing the four-year plan was a no brainer for me. I had just finished high school, so why would I want to cut my time at college short? I thought you would have to be crazy or really smart to want to finish college early. But now I encourage you to consider all your options before setting your decision in stone.
Halfway through my freshmen year of college, my thinking changed. Saving money started to sound better and better. I had this terrible fear that finishing early might mean missing out on something, but I was wrong. I was so sure that four years was right for me, I then realized that maybe God had a different plan for my life. I prayed, sought out answers, and asked several people for their thoughts. I talked it over with my parents who supported me in every way, and they thought it was a great idea. I finally made the decision to switch to the three-year plan.
I immediately started to panic thinking I had waited too long. I wondered if I wouldn’t have a choice, and I would have to stick with my original plan. I made an appointment with my adviser for the next day, and left the rest to God. The next day, I anxiously met with my advisor who told me that he thought it was still doable! It would take hard work on my part, and a few summer courses, but graduating a year early was in my future!
I ended up saving a lot of money, and the best part was that several of my friends were on the three-year plan as well! Graduating early meant that I was able to start the job search early, and it gave me a competitive edge. The three-year plan isn’t something that a lot of colleges have implemented yet, but it allows you to gain knowledge and experience much quicker than those who graduate at a later time. This also opens the door to several internships that can give you experience, and help you find your fit.
I realize that getting out of college and going straight into the professional world isn’t always a dream that every student has, but that’s also another perk to the three-year plan. I know of several classmates that finished early and spent a year traveling to experience the world. Other students finish early and then do missions work in another country for a year.
From my experience, being on the three-year plan means remaining focused. It’s not always easy, and there can be moments when things seem overwhelming. Just know that through every step of the process you won’t be alone.
Of course, the three-year plan just might not be something you’re interested in, and that is totally okay! I would still encourage you speak with your adviser, weigh the pros and cons, and ask God for direction. Ask yourself what is important to you. Remember that your advisers and professors are here to help you work through those tough decisions. It can be scary and you will have to work hard. But being willing to let God have complete control as you trust His plan and relying on those around you for support is a great place to start. There are many possibilities!
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