Graduate 2017

File photo from 2017 commencement ceremony. 

Many students endure countless hours in the library, sleepless nights of studying and other obstacles to graduation in their own way and for each particular program.

But these same students work toward a shared goal: the day when hard work is paid off, walking across the stage at commencement to receive a diploma. This dream is compromised for spring 2020 graduates.

“It’s been a long time coming for me, so when I heard that graduation might be postponed, of course I was upset,” senior journalism major Makayla Mais said. “But I’m really appreciative that Clif Smart hasn’t cancelled everything altogether like some universities have.”

Mais said she’s looked forward to graduating, putting in long hours to cut down her time in school. “I have been working toward my degree since I graduated high school and was able to cut my time in college from 4 years to 3,” she said.

The university has yet to decide how it will handle graduation, other than indefinitely cancelling commencement planned for May 15. Brainstorming on how to celebrate spring 2020 graduates is underway. 

“I personally just think they need to wait it out instead of opting to cancel it altogether,” Mais said. “There’s so many people that have worked so hard to reach this goal, or that may be the first in their family, that will want to celebrate this event.”

Senior fashion merchandising major Sidney Young agreed with Mais.

“In my opinion, I think the best way to handle this is to pick a later date, as soon as possible, so that people can start planning,” she said. “I don’t think it should be cancelled. For students like me, it’s the first commencement for the family to attend. It’s a big deal.”

Young has been waiting 3 years for graduation and was overcome with emotion when she realized it may be cancelled.

“When I saw the first post on Facebook from a friend of her going home and not coming back, that’s when it set in,” she said. “I immediately started crying. Graduation is the only thing I’ve been looking forward to and working hard at for a very long time.”

Young will be the first of her siblings to graduate, and she has many accomplishments in her field of study such as placing first at a fashion competition last year and becoming president of a student-led fashion magazine Sartorial.

“The uncertainty about this whole situation is the worst part,” Young said. According to her, she has been regularly checking her email waiting for a solution to cancelled commencement, hoping for a celebration at a later date.

Senior Class President Chase Stockton reached out to seniors March 28 asking for ideas and suggestions for a graduation celebration at a later date.

“I fully understand how hard this news was to hear,” Stockton wrote in his email to seniors. “I do believe that the decision (to cancel the May 15 ceremony) was made in the best interest of our community’s health and safety, but that doesn’t lessen the disappointment I know many of you feel.”

Young echoed this disappointment.

“I know everyone is working as hard as they can trying to figure out what to do next day by day, but every college student deserves a chance to walk on that stage,” Young said. “Even if it has to be months past.”