Opinion

Commencement should be more accommodating for students, audience

By Caché Cantrell

Senior Staff Writer

It is again the time of year when students are celebrated for their academic success at CSUB. Soon-to-be graduates are anticipating that moment when their family, friends, classmates and professors watch them cross the stage and receive their mock diploma. While graduation is supposed to be a joyous occasion it can also be stressful.

The first time I experienced a graduation at CSUB was two years ago. A friend was graduating and I was thrilled for her, but I felt sorry for her family and others in the audience. The sweltering heat made graduation difficult to sit through.

Last year I went to both the Friday and Saturday graduations, and the heat was brutal. By the middle of Friday’s ceremony, some audience members and graduates had left early. Saturday’s ceremony was worse-by the end of the graduation most people had left and those who hadn’t went looking for shade. All I could see was a sea of white seats behind the graduates.

Sure, the ceremony starts at 7 a.m. but by the time graduates are called to the stage, people are beyond ready to leave.  Alumna Andrea Martinez was pregnant when she graduated from CSUB and said that luckily her graduation was held in the Icardo Center.

“If I had to be outside when I graduated I don’t think I would’ve been able to handle it,” Martinez said.

The campus’ holding of two ceremonies can be stressful as well. When my roommate graduated last year it was an all-day event with the ceremony and the after party, so when it came time to attend my friend’s graduation on Saturday I was exhausted. I sadly didn’t make it there in time to see her cross the stage.

I personally believe we should hold graduation at Rabobank Arena-that way everyone could graduate together and instead of calling out each student individually they could be recognized by major or school. That way the audience would be more inclined to stay through the entire ceremony because it would be held indoors. But then comes money with facilitating that.

So if I had to work with our university’s resources I’d suggest that graduation be held closer to the evening, eliminating the sun being an issue. This would also give graduates time to come down from the hype of finals week. Senior English and music major Manny Beltran thinks that the time graduation is held is too early, especially for those who have family traveling from out of town or state.

“7 a.m. is ridiculous, especially for my family. I have some family members coming from LA, so what time do they have to leave? What time do they have to wake up just to get here if they want to come that day,” Beltran said, “Not everyone can afford a hotel.”

Another thing about graduation that causes students additional stress is the fact that one of the ceremonies falls on a day that some classes hold final exams. For the most part, students who are graduating can make arrangements with their professors, but what about those who want to attend the graduation to watch their friend walk the stage?

Beltran also said that he ran into a conflict with finals being scheduled on the same day he is graduating.

“We had to move one of our finals because I actually would have graduated in the morning on Friday and later on that day I would have had to take my final for one of my music classes. That doesn’t make sense to me,” Beltran said.

I also wonder about the fact that some students who walk the stage don’t even know if they are really done or if they have passed their classes yet because they have just taken their final exams only days before the commencement.

Martinez also mentioned that the limitation of tickets was another issue she encountered. Senior math and liberal studies major Brenda Rodarte has run into the same problem.

“You have to pretty much pick who you really want to come,” Rodarte said. “What if it’s between your grandma and one of your favorite aunts? You have to choose because you have a limited amount of tickets. Graduating from college is such a milestone that you want all of your loved ones to be a part of that.”

After all of the late nights of studying, the extracurricular activities and the extensive amount of time they have put in to achieve their goal, I think that our seniors deserve a send-off that is less like a high school graduation.

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2 thoughts on “Commencement should be more accommodating for students, audience

  1. Graduation last June was brutal for me. My grandmother was in the crowd and I felt horrible that the person who funded my education was left to stand in the blistering heat just to catch a glimpse of my walk across the stage while ALL of the faculty were allowed to sit under the shade of the out door stage. My classmates and I commented that WE should be the ones under the shade and the faculty should have been left out in the heat. We are the ones honored on that special day, why must we suffer through it? And another thing, why are the families held back by the police from snapping pictures of their grads??! This was a deplorable behavior I witnesses on my graduation day which really ticked me off as well as the family members who wanted once in a lifetime photos.

  2. another reason they probably don’t want to go to rabobank is because they want to keep it on campus. some attendees probably have never even seen the campus. perhaps use the icardo center and do more departmental ceremonies over the course of a few days.

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