Graduating in the spring is usually standard for the majority of college students, but Kayla Smith finished her final semester this past fall. The nuclear medicine technology graduate finished her degree with a pre-medicine concentration in three and a half years.
Smith originally started off as an allied health major and after her switch she needed to take roughly 16-18 credits per semester along with summer classes at her local community college to not only catch up but to also graduate a semester early. In addition to her summer classes, Smith also attended the two-week study abroad trip to Georgetown, Maine, fulfilling her 300-level religion course requirement.
According to Smith, graduating early wasn’t always the plan.
“To be honest, I didn’t necessarily want to graduate early. It would have been the easier and more comfortable decision to prolong my college experience throughout the spring semester, but the financial cost of doing so outweighed the benefit of taking additional classes,” said Smith.
She jumped on the opportunity to graduate early and justified her decision to do so by saving money that would have been used to cover tuition, room and board.
Even though her school responsibilities are over, she doesn’t have time to rest just yet.
“The biggest difference is having to ‘adult’ a semester earlier than my peers. Currently, I now have more financial responsibilities, I am spending a lot of time applying to jobs also I have to study for my registry exam to work in my field,” said Smith.
Students who graduate in the fall semester are still allowed to participate in Senior Week and walk with their graduating class at the commencement ceremony in May. Meanwhile, Smith is focused on preparing for her new life post-college.
“I feel very satisfied and fulfilled with the time I spent as a student at Manhattan College because I packed a lot of experiences into my time there as a undergrad student. I met a lot of incredible people, ranging from my peers, to Lockes and Public Safety employees, who made my college experience very meaningful and are the reasons Manhattan felt like my second home,” Smith said.
Smith tried to get the most out of her college experience. She remained actively involved in organizations on campus, and spent a good amount of time exploring New York City on the weekends.
“The best things I did in college were the clubs and programs I participated in that connected me to people I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to get to know. Joining a sorority, participating in L.O.V.E. Jamaica and professor Francis’ study abroad trip to Maine, being a summer conference assistant and interning at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center connected me to new people outside of my major, my age group, my culture and outside of my college experience. The diverse friendships I made will be one of the biggest take-aways from my college experience.”
Smith’s intentions for the next upcoming years include working as a nuclear medicine technologist, volunteering at an organization for a year, traveling and attending graduate school.