Upperclassmen reflect on decisions to graduate early

While her peers are either overloaded with PAK work or breezing through their school year, senior Jennifer Torres is completing her remaining classes in order to graduate early in December.

Torres plans to enter a certified nursing program in the spring, graduate from the course the following April-May, and then enroll in a university.

“Graduating early gives me an advantage over everyone else,” she said. “Especially since I know what I’m doing with my life.”

Junior Praboda Perikala is graduating a year early, with the Class of 2014, to pursue a profession in the medical field. Even though she will start her college journey earlier than most of her peers, Perikala sees several disadvantages.

“You wouldn’t be able to join Speech and Debate or another club that requires a lot of devotion because you’re trying to accomplish [something] in three years what others would accomplish in four,” Perikala said. “Your academics are number one, not clubs, so that would restrict your time.”

Junior Ryana Sbeiti, who is also graduating early, shares similar feelings.

“I made a lot of friends in the class of 2015, but whenever we are all together, it sucks because I won’t be graduating with them,” Sbeiti said. “My friends are like, ‘You’re a traitor.’”

In addition to the social sacrifices, graduating early has academic disadvantages, according to counselor Mary Meadows.

“Graduating early takes away your full high school experience,” she said. “Early grad students could have used that extra year or semester to take more classes, so they don’t have to take that class in college.”

She advises students who are thinking about graduating early to consider the advantages of taking their time.

“[The counselors] want students to graduate for the right reasons, not to escape from Kerr.”

Senior Trishna Parikh sees her decision to finish her credits in December not as an escape, but as beginning her adult life.

“I’m prepared to handle the responsibility of growing up,” Parikh said.

Torres agrees.

“We’ll have to grow up eventually,” she said.