As the Spring Term begins, many Drexel students are switching gears between classes and co-op. However, our graduating seniors are switching their mindsets to something much larger than a new quarter or a new workplace: many are looking to get the hell out of here and start their careers. It’s a transition that’s filled with excitement and anxiety, and it signals the end of an era. Especially for Drexel students, who in a large part attend for five years, and who almost universally lose their precious summer vacation time so praised by peers at other universities, finally leaving is a startling and euphoric experience.
Graduation marks a time to look back on all of the experiences, triumphs, low points, failures, and lessons from students’ time in school. For some, it means it’s time to go to graduate school. For others, it’s time to start being a part of the workforce. Some students choose to take a much deserved break and travel before settling on their next steps. Still others stay behind to finish a few classes and receive their degree. Whatever comes after graduation, one thing is for sure: it’s bound to hold new beginnings and maybe just a touch of nostalgia.
Drexel students are especially sensitive to our lack of school spirit, and the well-known experience of the Drexel shaft is one all Dragons can relate to, so it doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise that most Drexel students are disenchanted with the idea of attending their commencement ceremony. To add insult to injury, many student vocalize their ire at being forced to pay nearly $90 for the necessary graduation cap and gown that they’ve waited so long to proudly don. The ceremony will be long, the speeches may end up being terrible, and the horror of scheduling family arrivals and visits for the big day is enough to drive any graduating student crazy.
However, it’s important to consider what may be gained by attending commencement.
For what is very likely the last time, graduating students are able to stand together as a unified class, a group of determined and damn well-prepared young professionals and academics who are chomping at the bit to get into the world and start making a difference. Commencement concentrates every graduating student into one alarmingly claustrophobic space for a few hours physically – mentally, and emotionally, the concentration of nostalgia, pride, and just a touch of disbelief is a lot to take it. The atmosphere at graduation ceremonies never fails to be a little bit awe-inspiring, and for many graduating seniors, it is the last chance to experience this incredible feeling for yourself.
So yes, you’ve just gotten through five years of way too many “midterms,” not nearly enough summer fun, being shafted pretty regularly, and who knows how much debt and student loans. But you’ve also gotten through what many consider an extremely rigorous course load, an insane amount of responsibility at various co-ops, and several hours spent proving that you have what it takes. You might as well take your opportunity to bask in it while you can.
It’s a bit early to say congratulations to our class of 2018, so instead we’ll say hang in there, and we’ll see you at graduation.