“Are you going to come back to walk in the spring?”
It’s a question I’ve gotten pretty much every day this semester. And it’s a valid one, too, because I’m a December grad.
As a December grad, I don’t get my own graduation ceremony. I don’t get much of anything, actually, as all the celebrations, awards and ceremonies come in the spring. There’s no Baccalaureate, no awards or recognition, not even an email to acknowledge that I’m leaving or to let me know if my graduation application went through. Even the Black and White Party, which in years past was marketed as the December grads’ Final 40, was advertised this year as a party for all seniors.
Last spring, Melinda Talavera, the senior senator for the 2018 graduating class, proposed a small graduation celebration for future December grads. Her idea was a small, Baccalaureate-like ceremony that would be similar to the cultural graduations ISP puts on each spring—organized and put on by students. While many, like Res Life, were receptive to Talavera’s proposal, others were not so receptive, citing the budget as one main reason for the lack of a December ceremony currently.
“They basically ended the conversation there,” Talavera said.
When Talavera returned this fall to see if the conversation was still happening, she found that a December ceremony is being talked about still to be implemented starting in two years.
This is great news, but what about for the people, like me, who are here right now? In a semester that has already been filled with changes, in a time when all the talk of looking to the future of Vanguard has left many current students feeling as if they don’t matter, this feels like icing on the cake. Does it matter that I am leaving? Does it matter that I was here?
I know Vanguard is a small school; that’s the reason I chose to come here. I chose to come here for the tight-knit community, the small-class sizes, the intentional professors, all of the things that made me feel seen and like I matter. And the truth is…. I don’t feel that right now.
I’m not an idiot. I know that until the number of December graduates is equal to the number of those graduating in May that a legitimate graduation ceremony at the end of the fall semester isn’t on the table. And that’s not what I’m asking for either.
All I’m asking for is some recognition for the work I put in over these past three and a half years. I want someone to acknowledge that I worked really, really hard to be able to graduate early. I want someone to say that they are proud of me. I want someone, anyone, to tell me that they will miss me, that it matters at all that I have spent the last three and a half years of my life here.
I want to feel like the work I put in is noticed. I want to be acknowledged for being here and graduating early, which is not something a lot of people do. I want to hear anything from this place I’ve called home besides radio silence.
I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.