- Patrick Hulce
I can't take it anymore; I'm finished.
After three years of college, I have decided to graduate a semester early and get out to California in January. The reasoning is multi-faceted, but ultimately, I've concluded that staying another semester would be a decision I would come to regret more than if I left.
I am majoring in computer science and have always known that I wanted to work in the tech industry. However, in my enthusiasm for compsci I ended up burning through all the Computer Science requirements in my first two and a half years. All the classes I had left to take were not directly applicable to my future career and did not provide me with the skills and knowledge that I needed to succeed as an engineer. While before I had no problem sustaining intense workloads with 22 credit hours and an (illegal) array of full-time jobs, I suddenly found myself with a complete lack of motivation and engagement in my classes, and I often felt like I was wasting my time. The pressure to maintain a high GPA for career purposes, in subjects which had no relevance to that career, was infuriating. It was taking a noticeable toll on my mental and physical health. I found myself constantly exhausted, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to enjoy the college experience.
In contrast, my internships as an engineer were incredibly fulfilling. I felt so much more alive and happier when I was working as a software engineer than when I was at school. I was able to apply my skills and knowledge to real-world problems and make a tangible impact on the companies I worked for. This experience solidified my understanding that fulfillment for me lies in practical application, not academia.
Additionally, I have a long-distance fiancee and the distance between us had started taking a toll on our relationship. Being away from her for months at a time over the past 3 years has been difficult, and I knew that if I stayed in college for another semester, we would miss out on valuable time together. I did not want to look back on my college years with regret (I'd be lying if I said Five for Fighting didn't play a small role in nudging over the edge).
The decision to graduate early was a difficult one, but I'm confident it will be the right one for me. I felt like I was wasting my golden years away from what I liked to do, where I wanted to be, and who I loved. I am so excited to begin my career in tech and to start the next chapter of my life.