Some seniors choosing to graduate early


Photo By: Photo provided by Montse Reyes

Senior Montse Reyes works the cashier line at ChickFilA on FM78. Her plan is to graduate in December.

It is undeniable that remote learning has been a struggle for many students. But for Judson’s early graduates, it is welcomed with open arms.

The choice to graduate early is rarely an easy one, and it is only made more difficult when partnered with a pandemic, which prevents students from attending school in person. While online school may place doubts in the minds of several early graduates, for others, it was made clear right away that this was still the best course of action.

“My initial thoughts were that this probably couldn’t be a better situation for my case,” senior Emily Stein said. “When we found out school would be online, I had started working full time at my new job and didn’t want the two classes I had left of school to prevent me from working and saving money at the rate I was. I knew the education would naturally be less thorough, so it allowed me to do school asynchronous to work without having too big of an issue with the course load.”

Despite the negativity which arose during the summer quarantine, it provided a time of clarity for some, allowing them the opportunity to reflect on and decide what exactly they want from life.

“When the district announced that we were not returning to [school] in person is when I really sat down and thought hard about my decision,” senior Montserrat Reyes said. “I had been working full time the entire summer, so that really made me ask myself ‘what if you could do both?’ When they announced that is when I finally decided that I wanted to graduate early to keep working full time and try and figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Virtual education allows students like Stein and Reyes to work while attending school, encouraging them to prepare for life after high school.

“I’m that teenager that’s asking back and forth in my head ‘is college for me?’ because at this point in my life, I’m not sure. But I know I have to be, so college is something I have been worried about,” Reyes said. “I’m hoping that by then, things are more figured out and that I can continue with the plans to advance my education at a community college in the spring.”

The numerous changes the pandemic brought to the education system come as a bittersweet experience to early graduates, with several benefits as well as downfalls.

“I didn’t have any doubts [about graduating early]. If anything, I was more certain and I dropped my electives and made just getting graduated my goal,” Stein said. “It has been difficult, however, when I get a bad grade on something or miss an assignment simply because of a disconnect between my teacher, the technology, and myself.”

Although the effects of COVID-19 on the education of students are numerous, it is made clear that with some sacrifice, a little elbow grease, and immense determination, goals are still possible, even in the most obscure of times.

“Words I could tell someone who is considering graduating early is, don’t let other people keep you from living your life. They might say, ‘You’re going to regret it.’ ‘You’re growing up too fast.’ I truly think it’s worth figuring out what you want in life and getting ahead,” Reyes said. 


If there are issues with this article, report it here.