During high school, I had the opportunity to earn 38 college credit hours through a dual-enrollment program with a local college. This allowed me to enter my first year at university as a sophomore. This is great because I can (Lord willin’) graduate a year early with a degree. And I’m thankful for all of this. I’m thankful that I was able to get a year behind me while in high school. I’m thankful for how those dual-enrollment classes prepared me. I’m really thankful I have music appreciation behind me (ha!). But this has its disadvantage.
My last two years of high school I knew I would major in chemistry and go into pharmacy. In fact, I was dead set on this and really irritated when people told me I might change my mind. Fast-forward to this past fall during my first semester at university. I called my mom crying almost every night. Literally. I was very bored and completely stressed at the same time in every science class. I loathed the pre-requisites and knew I would be miserable if I took any more. I needed creativity. I decided to change my major within the first half of the semester. I had changed my mind like I was told I might. I was done.
The problem here lies in the fact that I had no clue what I was going to like once I entered college (for real). For me, the structure of science courses didn’t work, and I also wasn’t interested in anything I was learning. My English and debate classes, however, were my favorites. I realized I’m really interested in social issues and creative outlets— not whatever the Krebs Cycle is (I somehow made an A in biology, though).
Dual-enrollment made me feel like I had to know what I was going to major in as soon as I came to college. It meant that I had one less year to figure out what I was into, then I had to start classes in my major. I knew that after this year I needed to have a plan. It would all be fine if everyone knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grow up (and stuck with it,) but a lot of people end up changing their minds.
I’m really thankful to have a year of college behind me, but it also pressured me into making some big decisions about my future earlier than I was ready for. I still suggest taking dual-enrollment classes as a high school student, but I think more students need to know it may cause them to feel hurried through college.