Early graduation provides unique opportunities
Students with enough credits coming in from high school have the decision to stick it out for the typical four years at Concordia or take the plunge and graduate early.
According to Concordia registrar, Ericka Peterson, there has been an increase in students who come in with credit. Peterson said about 50 percent of the students in this year’s freshman class came in with some type of credit.
Career coach, Madeline Johnson, who graduated early in December 2014, said there are many different options for students who graduate early.
“What you do after graduation really depends on your focus,” Johnson said. “It is definitely harder to locate a job.”
Johnson said some students participate in a volunteer program such as AmeriCorps. Others will get a job that might not involve their major to start paying off student loans while they can work on applications to graduate school or find a job opening which applies to their major.
Johnson was able to get her current job at the career center through connections she had from being involved with orientation for three years. This temporary job allows her to use the time between now and this fall to study for standardized tests, work on applications and pay off student loans.
Johnson had planned to go the full four years at Concordia, but this past spring, she decided to graduate early.
“Overall, it’s worth it financially. Getting out and experiencing the real world is giving me time to reflect,” Johnson said.
According to Johnson, to prepare for a December graduation, don’t get caught up in the “Concordia bubble.”
“Be prepared to be in a place where you don’t walk around and know everyone you see,” Johnson said.
Johnson encourages trying new things to find a possible career.
“Take advantage of an opportunity outside of your comfort zone,” Johnson said.
December 2013 Concordia graduate, Eliza Hartmann did just that.
While Hartmann was at Concordia she majored in biology and was a part of a research program. She was looking at going to graduate school starting fall 2014 and pursuing plant science.
During her semester between graduation and graduate school Hartmann had the opportunity to live with her aunt and uncle in New York and try out modeling, something way out of her comfort zone. With her parents encouragement, she went to New York and ended up signing with a small, fairly new agency in New York called Fusion Models.
Modeling was new territory for Hartmann at the time.
“I’d heard of Gucci but that’s basically it,” Hartmann said.
At the start, Hartmann was skeptical about whether this would work out for her but now, a year later, she is booking shows and doing shoots all around the world.
Hartmann’s main agency is Fusion in New York but she now also is employed through agencies in the major fashion cities of the world: London, Milan, Paris and Hamburg.
During Hartmann’s first season as a model, she did not participate in New York fashion week, but she was flown to Paris to walk for Chloé in their fashion week.
During her first show she heard Beyoncé was going to be there.
While she was on the runway she thought, “I wonder if I’ve walked by Beyoncé yet.”
Something that has been an adjustment for Hartmann is the style. She said models are expected to always wear tight clothes in black or leather.
“I like my grandma clothes,” Hartmann said.
Another issue Hartmann has had is she doesn’t have anyone to talk about her passion for biology. Recently she has pulled out a biology book and just been reading it.
“I’ve dumbed down my research sometimes to talk about it,” Hartmann said.
Eventually Hartmann plans to go to graduate school and pursue her dream of working at a state park. When she goes back will depend on how well this year’s fashion season goes.
Although modeling isn’t what Hartmann had in mind when she graduated from Concordia, it has been a life changing opportunity for her.
December 2014 graduate, Amy Mireault plans to use her education major and special education minor to become a teacher. Right now Mireault is using her time to get a head start on applications, substitute teach in her hometown and surrounding towns and volunteer at her church.
Mireault knew coming into Concordia she would have the option of graduating early due to credits she earned from college in the schools. At first, she was reserved about not being here for her full senior year but she decided to in order to save money. This has also given her a jumpstart on applications and given her even more experience in the classroom than she had before.
“I am very pleased with my decision,” Mireault said. “I am able to get more experience in the classroom and start on my applications earlier, which is less stressful than if I were to finish in May.”
Since Mireault was able to get a job involving her major she is gaining valuable experience in the classroom, which is preparing her for a future full time job.
December 2014 graduate, Kaitlyn Davies was also an elementary education major at Concordia. Right now Davies is waiting to hear back from school districts in which she applied to be a substitute teacher. Along with giving her more experience in the classroom, she is hoping to make connections that will help her get a job in the fall.
“Most jobs for next fall will be hiring in March, April or May, so not being in school will allow me to focus more on my job applications and finding a full time job for the fall,” Davies said. “Being able to sub will allow me to get into the school districts and become familiar with them, which will hopefully allow me to get a job for the fall.”
For students who don’t quite know what they want to do with their major after graduation, Johnson encourages graduating early to give Cobbers an opportunity to find what they could see themselves doing for the rest of their life.
“I knew in order to know what I wanted to do with my life I had to get out and experience the real world,” Johnson said.
This article was submitted by Anna Erickson.
Anna Erickson is a Multimedia Journalism major and an Art and Writing minor. She is from Alexandria, Minnesota and is a part of Concordia’s class of 2017. She is also a lifeguard, swimming lessons teacher and member of CEC. She loves photography, writing, and being on the lake.