Inside the Mind of: Someone Who is Graduating Early

Nicole La Pietra

Name: Kristen Fetzer
Major: Behavioral Neuroscience
Hometown: Massapequa, N.Y.

Why did you decide to graduate early?
My parents are paying for my education, and even though I have a scholarship, Quinnipiac is still very expensive. I figured that I’d save my parents that money if I could.

What sort of things did you have to do in order to achieve this goal?
I took Advanced Prep and college courses throughout high school, 17 credits each semester [at college], and one course over the summer.

What are some of the benefits to graduating early?
Since I’m staying in Connecticut until I graduate, I get to be with my friends for a few more months and I also get to have a few extra months just to do volunteer work and add more research experience to my resume.

What are some cons to graduating early?
Finding a job! I found an internship at Yale so I’m just waiting for the day that I’m allowed to apply. For the spring, I have research lined up. But finding a full-time job is going to be interesting.

Any other plans?
I plan on continuing to do research throughout the spring in as many places that will take me. I’ve been doing research the past two years and it’s a really good experience. I also want to build up my resume with volunteer hours and shadowing experience. There is a mental hospital near my house in New York that I’ll be setting up a job with beginning in the summer once I move back [home]. So basically, I’m using my extra semester to make me a stronger candidate to any graduate programs I apply to, and then start working in June.

What are your future goals?
I want to get my certification to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and I want to do a lot of volunteering and research.The plan has always been for me to go to physician assistant school, but I want to work in the mental hospital setting to see if I would want to look into being a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

What are some things your family and friends have said about you graduating early?
My parents say they’re proud of me because they know how hard I’ve worked. My friends were concerned that I would miss my senior year and that I’m trying to grow up too fast, but my parents are making sure I don’t by letting me stay in Connecticut until May.

What are your overall thoughts about your decision to graduate early?
I think I made the right decision when I chose to graduate early. Quinnipiac definitely challenged me, and I think my major specifically set me up to be successful in research and sets us up to go into a number of different fields. It’s bittersweet, but I also feel like I’m prepared for what’s coming next.