Khalid and Zoë Advise Everything: Early Graduation or Post-COVID Celebration?

Paige says, “I’m a [third-year] who will only have one required class left to take after the summer semester, meaning I have the possibility of graduating early. This would save me some money big time, but also I feel like next year (my senior year) everything might start going back to normal and I’ll be able to enjoy some of the activities and traditions that the classes of ’20 and ’21 got taken away from them because of COVID … please help me weigh the pros and cons!”

Thanks for the question, Paige! To better illustrate our thoughts, we’ve decided to award a score (0–10) to each pro and con. Whichever option, graduating early or attending senior year, receives the highest point total will earn our vote. The “Pros” section covers the pros of graduating early and the “Cons” section covers the cons of graduating early. Got it? Good. Let’s jump right into it!



Saving Money, $75,888 of it (Score: 9/10)

Speaks for itself. 

Beginning Your Life (Score: 7.5/10)

College life isn’t forever, and it isn’t for everyone. For many, Oberlin is a means to an end and, lucky for you, the end is near. You can now finally stop going to school and learning about things you aren’t interested in or passionate about. You can do whatever you want with your life for the first time. Want to join the workforce? Do it. Interested in traveling? Seeing the wonders of the world? Moving back in with your parents? No judgement here. You are finally free from the shackles of academia, and the world is your oyster. 

Leaving College Life (Score: 10/10)

Is this similar to the last point? Maybe to the layman, but the cultured know better. Before, we looked at the exciting possibilities of the future; here we acknowledge the sucky truths of the past and present. Has college life at Oberlin brought joy to many? Sure it has. But you know what else it brought? A lot of negative experiences. If you graduate early, you’ll get to leave behind the decrepit buildings (cough, Barrows Hall, cough), dirty bathrooms, and performative wokeness. Imagine waking up without the fear of discovering a new lawsuit or scandal involving you, your loved ones, or the place you are affiliated with. Imagine how peaceful it would feel to only worry about your own personal finances and not those of an entire institution. Leaving Oberlin means leaving all of that behind and honestly, that counts for something.


Missing the Return to Normalcy (Score: 8/10)

Fall 2021 is about to go CRAZY. We’ve all been stuck indoors for the past year, constantly worrying about COVID-19 and whether we and our loved ones are safe. We put our lives on hold and lost a significant portion of our college experience. While no one can get back the time we lost, you can make up for the lost time during your senior year. I’m talking about Margarita Night at Lupitas Mexican Restaurant, Splitchers, Long Island Night at The Feve, Solarity, and just being surrounded by the Oberlin community without having to worry about your safety. The College has done its best to reimagine the Oberlin experience during COVID-19, but as a third-year, you remember how different Oberlin was pre-pandemic. Staying for an additional year will bring your Oberlin experience full-circle and give you a greater appreciation for what you lost out on during your second and third years. 

Are you really ready for adulthood? (Score: 8.5/10)

The world is a big and scary place and while you will eventually leave college, your senior year is a buffer between you and adulthood. You can hang out with friends as you complain about applying for jobs and there’s comfort in knowing that you’re not the only one who’s freaking out about the future. As a senior, you’re at the top of the hierarchy. You know how to navigate Oberlin academics and culture. The moment you leave, you’ll be like a first-year again, only this time you’ll be on a campus of 8 billion people instead of 3,000. So why not stay at Oberlin while you can and enjoy the cusp of adulthood without  adulthood’s additional costs and responsibilities? 

No more albino squirrels (Score: 11/10)

We actually don’t think you’re allowed to graduate until you’ve seen an albino squirrel, but, for argument’s sake, let’s say you can. Would you want to? Probably not. They are the original Obies. While we come and go, they stay put and, as a result, they have earned our respect. We don’t impose religious or spiritual beliefs, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the deification of our albino squirrels. They are the unifying aspect of campus. Leaving them behind is turning your back on a community of Obies who know how to hold a grudge. On a personal note, we can’t imagine the type of person who’d willingly leave those cute (Yeobie, notwithstanding) little critters behind. And we don’t want to.

Total Pros Score: 26.5/30 

Total Cons Score: 27.5/30

So, based on the Khalid-and-Zoë-approved score system, we’d advise you to return to campus despite the tempting offer of an early graduation. 

For the sake of making this decision more complicated, we also want to offer a third option that possibly presents the best of both worlds: taking a personal leave this summer, attending school in the fall, and going part-time in the spring. You’ll save money on tuition, room, and board and miss Oberlin’s sweatiest months. Something to think about!

Of course, the decision is ultimately up to you. We love you and will support you no matter what.

If you’d like to be a part of Khalid and Zoë Advise Everything, you can submit a question to this form. If you submitted and didn’t see your question, stay tuned for the next installment. You just might make the cut.