Early Grad Takes on New York

Madelena Lapinski, Staff Writer

Former class of 2023 student, now senior Em Patrick is graduating early with the class of 2022 and taking a gap year in upstate New York to work, pursue graphic design and explore.

For Patrick, making the decision to graduate early was easier than she suspected, and totally worth it. After communicating with her counselor, which she says is a crucial aspect of the journey to graduate early, Patrick discovered that she only needed to take three extra classes to satisfy her credits: English 12, economics and health. While this busy schedule has been difficult, she has been able to maintain her grades and believes anyone can graduate early– and should– if they wish.  

Although she was hesitant to miss out on senior activities like prom and the senior picnic, graduating early was the right decision for Patrick’s mental health, as she struggles  with ADHD. While looking for a better environment, Patrick’s aunt invited her to live in New York, where she would no longer have to endure the suffocation of the education system.

Patrick said, “I think that we go to school for 13 years straight and then we go straight to college. There’s really no break– like ever since we’re five years old we just have this huge academic career pushing us into the real world.”

Subsequently, maintaining a work-life balance was crucial for her gap year, especially so that she would be able to improve and learn about herself. 

“I am better mentally and better physically, and have more time to do things I enjoy. I have more time to spend with people I love and do activities that are productive and better for me.” Patrick said. 

In order to engage more in doing the things she loves, Patrick will be working to save money for her anticipated college career following her gap year, and she will attend community college to advance her artistic skills and develop her portfolio. With goals of joining the film industry for marketing, Patrick wants to major in graphic design in the future, but not until after she experiences life away from school first.

However, her education is not her only priority. Patrick believes in learning by experience, and New York has plenty of opportunities to offer. “I think there’s more to life than just learning academically.  We also grow our minds by experiencing things, and I think there’s a big importance in gaining new experiences,” said Patrick.

For anyone wanting to follow a similar path, Patrick recommends anyone seize the opportunities they are given to graduate early and explore life in a new way. “I think that if it’s something they really want to do, then you should go for it. I mean, it’s not hard, and you can achieve and do great things outside of just this space.” 

She understands the mental pressures of school, and is looking toward a bright, exciting and ambitious future. Her tremendous efforts will never go unnoticed, and everyone is excited for the future blockbuster movies, created and marketed by Em Patrick.