Is the walk worth it?

To walk or to not at commencement? That is the question.

Hanna Bubser, Senior Columnist

Whenever someone asks me how I’m feeling about graduating in a month, I answer quite bluntly: I’m feeling a lot of ways. I’m nervous for what lies beyond college, I’m sad to leave behind the community that I have built here and I’m also excited. Because once I walk across that stage to receive my diploma (even though my actual diploma won’t be mailed until months later but that’s besides the point) I will feel an overwhelming sense of relief, right?

I have convinced myself that as much will happen, but the logistics of commencement may not even give me a chance to breathe. I’ve heard from friends of mine who have graduated that it is a day unlike any other; not necessarily because of how incredible it is to be graduating but rather how hectic the process is. I remember my high school graduation ceremony being the same way; quite a bit of build up for a day of sitting in the heat and holding an empty diploma folder.

Yes, commencement is largely ceremonial. The fact of the matter is, you’ll receive your rightfully earned diploma whether you walk or not. All that being said, I do still plan on walking. You may be wondering why I would say that after I just complained about it, but it is simple: I want to do this for me and for everyone I care about. Commencement feels like the final page of a four year long journey, and I want to be able to finish the book and give it a happy ending. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a single day, is it not? But yet, here I am doing it anyway.

Perhaps that is the reason why people choose not to walk at commencement. It is too much of a production to them, and they would rather just move on after completing their degree. Maybe some people literally don’t have the time for it, as they are starting a new job or moving back home. Maybe some people just don’t see a reason to walk. I am here to tell you that regardless of how silly and ceremonial it may seem, you should walk. You owe yourself that satisfaction.

Hamline University

I am always a little stunned when I speak with someone who says they have no interest in being a part of commencement. Why not? After all of your hard work, wouldn’t you want to be publicly recognized for it? For awhile I never saw a reason why you wouldn’t want to participate, but after going to the Grad Fair a few weeks back I will admit I saw some barriers. In order to purchase a cap and gown, you have to spend nearly fifty dollars (and that isn’t even including the souvenir tassel they try to sell you for an additional eight dollars). One worthwhile thing to note though is that there is no rule against borrowing a black cap and gown from someone else. This could save you a chunk of change so I suggest hitting up a friend of yours to help you out.

Also, the fact that we only get three tickets if commencement has to be moved inside is aggravating. There are many people, including myself, who have more than three people in my family who would like to watch. Hamline is a small school with limited space, I get it. But for an event like graduation it seems like they should want to make an effort of being more inclusive to our student body, especially those who just paid their way through four years of school. The best I can do at this point is cross my fingers that it doesn’t rain on commencement day…or snow for that matter.

There are some parts of commencement that you just can’t get around. There will be a lot of shuffling around, waiting, sitting and being uncomfortable in our scratchy cap and gown. But I choose to believe that commencement will act as a day of resolution and a day of introduction. I will resolve my Hamline career as an undergraduate student and be introduced to the new world of adulthood. Commencement turns something intangible (like an academic career) into something tangible. An entire day dedicated to who you were as a student and celebrating who you may become. Participation isn’t mandatory, but I’d say it is strongly encouraged.