Graduation is a time to celebrate, reflect on our memories and accomplishments, and set our sights on the future. It is a time for graduating seniors to come together with family, faculty and staff, and fellow classmates for one last hoorah. If you are anything like me, excited yet anxious for graduation commencement, you might have some skepticism when it comes to how the graduation ceremony will play out.
Personally, I have been nervous about whether or not graduation will be organized given the fact that there is no graduation rehearsal. After all the money we have paid in tuition, and all the work we have put in for this moment, we should feel confident in the fact that our graduation ceremony will be a well-organized celebration.
Another concern that I, as well as other graduation seniors have, is the ticket distribution. The number of tickets distributed to each senior depends on how big the senior class is. However, it is frustrating for those of us who have big families and have relatives flying in from other areas, because we are unable to get enough tickets. It would be convenient for a lot of graduating seniors, as well as future seniors, to receive more than seven tickets.
Interim Registrar Shree Cater explained that ticketing is always a challenge because they do not always know how many students actually intend on walking, and that they have to give students enough time to actually apply for graduation. While there have been rumors that the giving of tickets to others is against university policy, Cater set the record straight, outlining that the selling and profit off of graduation tickets is against the university’s values, but the sharing of tickets is acceptable.
However, even though overflow seating is an option for additional friends and family, because we have no graduation rehearsal this still leaves me feeling hesitant.
Alexis Schnoor, Executive Secretary of the President, and Celina Canales, Provost to the Vice President, assure students that in place of rehearsal this year SGA plans to release a “Know Before You Go” video for graduating seniors. This video will break down all the expectations and information graduates will need to know the day of the event.
This need for an online video was, according to both Schnoor and Canales, not just for traditional undergraduates, but also for professional studies and graduate students. This has been a plan of the university for two years, as the Council, which is made up of membership that represents vice presidents of all areas of the university, wanted to provide a strategy that is accessible to all students. While perhaps it is not the same as an in-person rehearsal, this approach is comforting because it shows the administration cares and are willing to work with student leaders to implement new changes.
The final thing that has me worrying about graduation, is whether I have the ability to decorate my graduation cap. In the past, decorating graduation caps was forbidden. However, according to Cater this has been changed. President Beals suggested this as an option for students. Knowing that the administration wants our graduation ceremony to be special is great and comforting, because I think a lot of graduating seniors would appreciate the fact President Beals is hearing our concerns and desires.
After having spoken to the Council within the Office of the President, my anxiety for the unknown commencement requirements and concerns have been put to ease. I think that having the information that the “Know Before You Go” video entails will be helpful not only for my graduating class of 2019, but for future graduating classes as well. I think it’s great to see that administration is working with students to provide us with what we actually need.
So while these challenges with graduation are frustrating, make sure to have your voice heard. In the future, administration may be making policies to accommodate the needs of future students based on what we say now.