When most people think of graduation, they think of a springtime ceremony filled with peers, professors, family, and friends, but for some seniors, they find that their college experience comes to an unconventional end. This fall, join us as some of Vanguard’s STEM students prepare for graduation.
Dyane Velazquez is a senior biology major with a concentration in neurobiology and a chemistry minor. She is set to graduate one semester early.
“In sophomore year, my advisor noticed my credits were ahead and told me that I could graduate early. Another reason I did it was because adding another whole semester would’ve been pricey,” Velazquez states.
For Velazquez, graduating one semester early means having five extra months of time to fill. “Right now, I’m in the process of applying for medical school, so hopefully next year, I begin in August. That still leaves a whole semester. I think I’m going to get a job,” Velazquez states.
As for senior Sophie Berka, graduation comes one semester later than usual. “I did not want to graduate in the fall, but since I transferred, I had to take a couple of extra classes,” she states.
Studying environmental science, Berka hopes to finish out the semester strong and move to Houston in the new year.
Having the option to graduate in the fall benefits students in practical ways, but there are drawbacks. Velazquez states, “”I’m excited to get it done, but it is kind of strange –especially in terms of celebrating the seniors.”
Berka agrees, saying, “It does feel weird to not walk with my friends and not being able to celebrate the graduation. I don’t feel like its taken as seriously for the fall graduates.”
The majority of events for graduating senior take place in the spring semester, including commencement. Luckily, these seniors have the option to walk during the spring commencement with some of their classmates, but although fall graduates have this opportunity, five months is undoubtedly a long time to wait for a ceremony. For seniors that hope to enter the workforce or move away after college, returning for commencement can feel strange or be inconvenient.
Regardless, both Velazquez and Berka plan on attending commencement in the spring. Velazquez states, “It will be something memorable for my family because I’m the first in my family that’s graduating from a four-year university in the United States.”
Providing students with well-earned recognition for their hard work over the past years is an important part of the college graduation experience. If you know a graduating senior, be sure to celebrate them a little extra this fall.