Ever since I decided to enroll in college and start working towards my associates degree at 14 while simultaneously taking high school classes to get my diploma, a lot of the comments made to me regarding my decision were about how I was wasting my time and rushing to grow up.
But I can tell you right now, I was doing neither of those things. While enrolled in both high school and college courses, I still made time to do the things I enjoyed. I went to football games. I hung out with my friends. I even became the varsity soccer team manager and got my first part-time job.
Speeding up my schooling process wasn't me ignoring the opportunities and people I had in front of me, nor was it a blindly made decision. It was hard work. It was honoring commitment and dedication. It was success.
When I graduated from high school and college in the same month, I got snide comments about how I should make sure not to rush my time at Clemson because I didn't need to grow up so fast. But again, I didn't listen.
I sit in class everyday next to people two years older than me and I hold my own. I bring great things to the table and I am respected and treated just as equally as my older colleagues.
I will graduate a year and a half early. I don't regret it.
I go to all the football and basketball games. I set aside every weekend to spend with my friends. I still make time to come visit my family.
I don't regret any of the "fast-track" decisions that I've made in my life. I have learned great lessons from them. I have gained amazing friends, regardless of age and life path. I have chosen to look on my decisions and success with hope and joy for the future instead of mourning the past and present. Living fast has taught me to look on every precious moment with gratitude and to put my heart and soul into everything I do and everyone I meet.