Be proud to be a ‘4+0’ student

A traditional education is nothing to be ashamed of

Hannah Mirsky, Contributing Writer

I would be surprised if someone in the School of Communications didn’t ask me if I was in the accelerated dual-degree 3+1 program after I say I’m a journalism student. The question of being in this program has come around so often during my time at Quinnipiac that I have begun saying I am a 4+0. I have been met with some laughs, while others felt like I was poking fun, but that wasn’t it at all.

When I committed to Quinnipiac, my deciding factor was the 96% job placement rate in the six months following graduation. I chose journalism because I loved conversing with people and loved writing even more. If the university tells me I have a great chance at working right out of college, and hopefully in a job I love, I have no other questions.

I never felt the desire to finish my education faster, rather I was focused on what I can do in that time to make myself and my family proud. In high school, I never took Advanced Placement courses because I knew I would just take the courses in college. The stress I saw it give to students was also not something I wanted for myself. I knew I could eventually find internships and involve myself in clubs that could give that extra push to do more.

However, this 3+1 program began to irk me. It was always the initial question people asked when they first met me freshman year. My 4+0 education was the same as theirs and we took the same courses during our first semester. It already felt like I was being put in an invisible box even if that’s not what was happening.

But when it came time for class registration for my second semester as a sophomore, I again felt this 4+0 subserviency. 

I wanted to take the news reporting class, a journalism major requirement that students in the 3+1 program have the opportunity to preregister for to ensure they stay on track. I wanted to take it so I could have the tools to do better as an executive producer for Q30 Television News, but when I finally hit the register button I did not get into it because the class was already full. I ended up taking my senior seminar course as a second-year — a class I wasn’t supposed to take.

A similar situation occurred again as I attempted to get into the fundamentals of digital journalism course last fall. I was jipped out of it because I couldn’t preregister. Almost all of the seats were already filled by students in the 3+1 program.

It is understandable since they are on a set timeline in which they need to complete these courses on a more accelerated track. For what I could leave off for my senior year, they’d have to take in their third year.

Yet, I am a planner and I knew exactly when I needed to take classes to meet my own academic and professional goals. 

I decided my first year on-campus I wanted to be in the Quinnipiac University in Washington, D.C. program during the spring of my junior year. I also declared two minors, none that could be overlapped by SoC courses. This means I have needed to strategically make my course plan to ensure I can succeed in doing everything I want to.

I would get frustrated that my goals were overshadowed by a program I didn’t feel I needed to be a part of. It is easy to question yourself. Is being a normal college student enough?

— Hannah Mirsky, contributing writer

However, it became hard to follow my plan and I would get frustrated that my goals were overshadowed by a program I didn’t feel I needed to be a part of. It is easy to question yourself. Is being a normal college student enough? This is where I feel this invisible line between those in the program and those not.

As I look back, my entire junior year was the reassurance I needed in confirming that 4+0 was the right choice for my educational journey. I completed four internships from the start of my junior year to now— three of them being in cities I’ve always wanted to work in. 

The experiences I have had are enough to show I didn’t need to push myself for the extra degree. I had nothing to prove to myself and I know I shouldn’t feel swayed by other students that have different outlooks on what they want out of their college experience.

But 3+1 is an amazing program to be part of. Students condense their undergraduate education into three years and get their master’s degree that next year. These students, especially if they did not come to Quinnipiac with college credits, are taking 18 credit semesters. On top of that, they are also completing internships and working part-time jobs.

It is easy to feel like you’re not doing enough when you see people enter school the same time as you and leave with an additional degree by the time you have completed your bachelor’s degree.

But I’m proud of being a 4+0 and I hope other regular college students are proud of themselves too. We’re achieving our degrees on our own terms, and that’s something we should all be satisfied with.