Harding opted to allow 2020 spring, summer and fall graduates to participate in an on-ground graduation ceremony for the 2020 fall semester. The event will occur before fall graduates officially finish classes, a fact that drew a range of opinions from seniors.
The University announced the news via email earlier this semester. Only graduates and faculty are allowed to attend the ceremony, scheduled for Nov. 21.
Senior Shelby Brehm, an accounting major, said graduating before finishing classes is not a bother and that she would feel the same about her classes regardless.
“I think it’s a little bit funny because we won’t be done,” Brehm said. “After Thanksgiving Break, I just have a couple of projects and tests, so it’s not, like, that big of a deal.”
Students like senior Daniela Cuellar, a journalism major, have different feelings towards graduation and have decided not to walk at all.
“I felt like doing the ceremony beforehand would mess with my mind and make me think I’m done when I’m not,” Cuellar, who is studying remotely, said.
Some seniors who will participate in the ceremony also feel the danger of having a false sense of completion after walking across the stage. Senior Isaac Davis, a Bible and preaching major, said he wanted to partake in the ceremony to obtain graduation pictures for his mother.
“It is very conflicting because I am already aware that I will struggle to still be present in my classes having gone through the ceremony because the ceremony is known for concluding or ending our experience,” Davis said. “[Knowing] I am going to get to celebrate that I am graduating and then right after that … I’ll probably be working on a project or preparing for a presentation or studying for a test.”
Senior general studies major Reid Pace said, though his classes are starting to wind down, he also will probably struggle to retain his focus after graduation.
“[Graduating before classes conclude] is kind of weird though, but with the circumstances we got going on right now, it does make some sense because we go home for so long,” Pace said.
Despite various opinions, many seniors appreciate that Harding is giving them the opportunity to experience walking across the stage.
“I think it was really sweet of Harding to make it a big deal for us to walk across the stage because I know that they didn’t have to do that,” Brehm said. “I am grateful that I’ll still get to walk, even though it’s going to look a little different.”