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Should students walk at graduation?

There are better ways to celebrate

Opinion by Tara Perticone

Graduation is a special time of the year where students see their hard work pay off and finally move on to another part of their lives. That, however, doesn’t mean that it is necessary to walk. Big ceremonies and watching hundreds of people walk across a stage to get a diploma isn’t the best option for everyone.

Besides, walking at graduation isn’t the only way to acknowledge the hard work that has been put into school. There are other ways to celebrate, like going to a nice dinner, having a party with close family, or planning a mini-vacation. It’s not that this milestone shouldn’t be recognized, but rather, that there isn’t only one way to celebrate. Not everyone feels comfortable at big events.

Commencement is an overly glorified celebration. Since the event is supposed to be about the graduates and their accomplishments, it should be intimate. It’s no one’s fault that the ceremonies are planned to serve the masses; at a school with thousands of students, it’s hard to avoid it. It’s not like high school where everyone was more acquainted with each other. Not every student is very active on campus, so they might not have as much attachment.

The money required to graduate, which is $70 for a Bachelor’s, can be spent in better ways. For example, it could be used toward a little vacation or even just a gift.

A commencement ceremony isn’t the only way to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the years that the students put into school. The fact is that this day is fleeting; a career or a brand-new degree path is facing the graduates head-on. So instead, people should make the ceremony intimate, skip commencement, and celebrate closely with loved ones.

Graduates deserve the recognition

Opinion by Taylor Kirby

Students who walk at graduation take part in a tradition that traces back to the 15th century and celebrates the pursuit of knowledge and personal empowerment. Students who don’t? They join a tradition of another ordinarily spent Saturday afternoon.

CU Denver graduated almost 2,000 students last spring, and most of the people who participated in the ceremony were cheered on by friends and family in the crowd. For someone who comes from an underprivileged background—say a first-generation college student who moved across the world to get an education, who then spent the next four years working tirelessly toward her goal—knowing thousands of people are watching her hard-earned commencement might mean the world to her. Graduation isn’t about about a singular student walking or not walking. It’s a community coming together to say, “What we did here matters.” Hours spent applauding strangers might not be the most exciting way to spend a summer afternoon, but choosing not to participate is a selfish rejection of the campus community.

Seventy dollars is a small price to pay to recognize all the hard work that led students to very expensive pieces of paper and diploma frames. After accruing enough debt to last a lifetime, what’s another drop in the financially arresting bucket to wear symbolic regalia and take photos with loved ones that will outlast even the highest of interest rates?

For those who only attended university to get their job credentials and get out, the graduation ceremony probably doesn’t mean much at all—but for those who framed the experience as a multi-year advancement toward being a more thoughtful and engaged global citizen? There’s a lot more to celebrate than just getting a degree.

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