By Kara Doane Contributing Writer

    Sophomore students Lindsey White and Julianne Petrie recently found out that they will be walking with the class of 2020.

   White and Petrie entered UMF in the fall of 2017 and expected to graduate in the spring of 2021. Carol Lee had told White and Petrie that it was a possibility to graduate early during their freshman year on campus. “During pre-registration this semester Patti Bailie told me I can walk at graduation in spring 2020,” said White. “It honestly blew my mind.” While Petrie has a different advisor, herself and White went to the same high school and took all of the same classes.

   Graduating early was never the intention for White. In high school she took many AP courses, advanced classes, and college classes online. “I took 15 hours of college classes in high school online through University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK),” said White. “I took Advanced Placement Literature and Language but failed the AP test. I also took advanced math and science classes.”

   White and Petrie’s intention of taking AP classes was to save some money for when they got into college. As they both came into UMF with a full semester’s worth of transfer credits, their goal had been met. They managed to save on a whole semester’s tuition.

   Graduating early could be the new trend as, “high schools are offering more college courses/AP classes at a discounted rate,” said Petrie. “I think I only paid about $80 for each college class in high school, compared to $1,200 for each class when I’m actually in college.”

   White suggests to anybody wanting to graduate college early, “If your high school offers college classes, take them! It may be a lot of work but it’s so worth it.” For those who didn’t have the opportunity to take college classes in high school, Petrie suggests, “take May terms and summer classes. Online classes aren’t too bad if you can motivate yourself to do the work without going to class every day.”

   White and Petrie had both taken ANT101 (Introduction to Anthropology) in May 2018 and are planning on taking ECH402 (Diverse Programming in Early Childhood) in Summer 2019.

   White is not ready to graduate next year, saying, “God no, be an adult? No, I’m mainly doing it to save money.” White is nervous about entering the working world post-college as she says, “What if my job is far away and I have to get a real apartment or live alone? I’m ready to be a teacher but I don’t want to be a full adult.”

   White will turn 21 in March and will walk in May, “So I’ll still be a baby. Being younger when entering the workforce, it could be a possibility that I could not be taken as seriously by employers/coworkers,” said White. The only positive that she mentioned was saving so much money.

   Petrie is ready to graduate but shares White’s fears. “By graduating early, I’m nervous about being super stressed all the time and not being able to relax and have fun when I need to.”

   White and Petrie have had a good experience at UMF. “College has been fun. I definitely struggled this past fall semester but having a good support system at home helped me stay on track,” said White. “I am not graduating with my friends I entered college with, but I do have tons of friends in the 2020 graduating class.”