0 Friday, December 07, 2012

Christmas season commencement

by Garrett Stephenson

While nothing can take away from the accomplishment of graduating from college, there can be many differences between a winter and fall graduation.

December serving as the transitional period between college and employment is somewhat untraditional and, consequently, carries both pros and cons.

Senior Kyle Stanton is lined up to graduate in December and introduces an interesting reason as to why Oklahoma Christian is seeing more and more students taking the same route.

“I am actually glad that I am graduating [in December] because most of my friends who I have known since freshman year ended up going an extra semester as well, so we are all going to get to graduate together,” Stanton said.  “Getting a degree in four years at OC is becoming more and more challenging.”

Many students at Oklahoma Christian University are utilizing an extra semester to accumulate the remaining credits left to obtain their degree.  Several others are taking longer than that.  A large number of students at Oklahoma Christian are requiring more than the traditional four years to reach the point of graduation for a wide variety of reasons.

Stanton, who returned for the fall 2012 semester for a mere 11 credits, simply needed the extra time in order to complete his degree plan.  Many students, however, encounter other situations that require them to attend extra semesters.

Quaid Johns is an Oklahoma Christian alum who doubled as both a student and athlete in his time at school.  With his multiple roles presenting a challenge for balance, Johns gives insight as to why he utilized an extra semester to complete his degree.

“Being a student athlete, it didn’t make sense for me to try to keep up with the 16-hour per semester average needed to graduate in four years,” Johns said.  “So I used an extra semester to get everything finished.  I was just excited to have a degree, at that point I did not care if it was in December or [April].”

When students take on additional roles in college, time becomes a precious commodity.  Students are forced to maintain a healthy balance between their responsibilities as students and responsibilities as active members of the school.

Student athletes tend to be the most common examples of students who are forced to take on extra semesters to attain credits due to time constraints, but they are not alone. Theater participants, student government representatives and many others also fall into this category.

Senior Taylor Parcus came to Oklahoma Christian as a transfer student.  Upon arriving at Oklahoma Christian, Parcus found that many of his credits did not transfer and was forced to exceed the customary four-year time period.

Parcus has both positive and negative emotions about a December graduation and brings to the surface many legitimate thoughts surrounding an unconventional completion date.

“Not as many people graduate this time of year, so there is less competition for jobs following graduation,” Parcus said.  “On the other hand, while it does make for a smaller ceremony, it is a hard time of year for family to make the celebration and the majority of my friends graduate in the spring.”

The pursuit of employment is a vital component to the new beginning post-graduation.  A December graduation introduces several different elements to that search that could possibly enhance a graduate’s likelihood for employment.

As mentioned, graduation in December is not customary and therefore releases far fewer graduates into the work force than graduation come springtime.  This provides

for far less competition entering the workforce and creates a buffer from the chaotic hire frenzy that follows graduation in April.

In addition to less competition, completing school in December makes graduates available for hire at the beginning of a new calendar year in January, a convenient and popular time for companies to bring in new employees.

Parcus’s negative observations are also legitimate as graduation in December lacks a lot of the perks of an April ceremony. Parcus mentioned difficulty of attendance, but the attention given to a December graduation as well as the flare of a mid-year ceremony both fall short of its spring counterpart.

As the fall semester draws to a close, many seniors will reach the final destination and graduate on Dec. 14.  Despite the differences in a December graduation, the accomplishment remains just as significant and the honor that is to be bestowed upon December graduates is equal to that of the spring.


Photo by: Henoc Kivuye

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