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2012 Spring Issue 1 (April 6, 2012)

Graduating early, seniors make money and the most of free time

April 6, 2012
By Anna Jarman

As most seniors scramble to finish their comps, a group of 2012’ers is basking in the satisfaction of having already finished their college careers. 

This year, less than 10 percent of the senior class (46 students) graduated early. Some early graduates are still on campus, while others are more far flung, but all are making use of their free time in some interesting ways.

Peter Schlesinger ’12 has been planning to graduate early since his freshman year, when he booked a ticket on the Titanic Memorial Cruise, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking this April. The 12-day cruise sails from Southampton, England, on April 8, following the Titanic’s historic route to its intended destination, New York.

Schlesinger has been interested in the Titanic since elementary school and even wrote his comps about it. He is now in England, exploring London and the English countryside before the ship sets sail on Sunday.  He booked his ticket during winter term of his freshman year, before he had experienced the fun of spring term at Carleton. 

“I didn’t really think about what I’d be missing,” he admitted. “As my early graduation date got closer, I definitely did start to feel like I’d be missing out on a whole term of fun just for a two-week cruise.”

Now that he has started his trip, however, Schlesginer says he feels “great” about his decision.

Tanner Martin ‘12 and Jolene Walter ‘12 chose to graduate early for more practical reasons.  Like many of their fellow seniors, they finished early because it made financial sense and because they had enough credits to do so. 

With two of his younger sisters currently in college, Martin hoped to save his parents the cost of a term of Carleton tuition.  He is currently enjoying his spare time, living off-campus in Northfield.  He is looking for a short-term job and exploring some new hobbies, spending his time playing in chess tournaments and working out before he starts his job in Madison, Wis., this July. 
Walter also stayed in Northfield, since she didn’t want to miss out on spring term traditions and time with friends.  She is staying busy by working part-time at one of the Northfield schools and auditing a class, participating in Ebony and working to become a “Mario Kart master by the end of the term.”  She is looking forward to spending the next year working with AmeriCorps before pursuing her master’s degree in childhood education.

Unlike Schlesinger, Martin and Walter, Tanya Bui ‘12 decided at the last minute that she wanted to graduate early.  While she had previously entertained the idea of an early finish, she didn’t seriously consider it until March, when she received a job offer to be a corporate recruiter for Epic in Madison. 

Bui had enjoyed her summer internship at the University of Minnesota and was “looking forward to experiences after Carleton,” she said. She decided to postpone her applications for joint Ph.D/J.D. programs for the chance to begin working. 

Bui said her decision to graduate early was difficult, as it meant leaving her friends and missing out on her senior year spring term. 

“When my friends started their first day of their senior spring term, I was on the road to Madison to move into my new apartment,” she said nostalgically.  “It feels weird not being in Northfield, grabbing coffee at Sayles, passing the Bald Spot on the way to class and being with my senior friends.” 

Yet Bui’s decision was made easier because her advisors, the Registrar and her friends were all “very supportive.” 

“I knew I would really miss the people the most, but I also knew Carleton had equipped me so well to take this next step,” Bui said. 

“The best part is that Madison and Northfield aren’t too far, so my plan for the next couple of months is to work really hard in my new role but also stay in touch with my professors and friends and visit throughout spring term.  I feel like I get the best of both worlds.”

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