Tag Archives: Graduation

School’s Almost Over, Now What?

As this semester comes to a close, many students will be wondering what to do for the summer, or if you are a graduating senior, what to do for the rest of your life. The students that are not yet graduating will need to be looking for short-term occupations for the summer. Part-time jobs will most likely be high up on that list. A little bit of extra cash will always be helpful for a college student; if nothing else, it will give them a bit of pocket change for when those exams get tough. A night out or a good meal can be just what the doctor ordered. Internships are another good opportunity for the summer, though those can be difficult to achieve and maintain. To realistically be able to hold one, you need someone who is willing to financially support you, which is a lot easier said than done. The real trouble comes for the graduating students though.

First of all, every student has to decide what to do, whether or not they are going to go on to grad school, or head into the workforce. That in and of itself can be a pretty drastic decision, and can be cause for a lot of concern. Graduate school can significantly increase the amount of debt a college student is in already, but it can potentially mean more money. However, there is also the issue of financing graduate school, which can be difficult after spending all of that money on four years of regular college.

Going into the workforce is not much easier nowadays. For all of the emphasis on getting a diploma, many employers also want their applicants to have years of job experience that no one fresh out of college realistically has. Job experience can be difficult to gain because no one will hire you in the first place without job experience. It is a vicious cycle, one that is made even more dangerous by the fact that recent graduates will soon have to pay off their accumulated debt. The best option is unclear, and it is a decision that is ultimately different for every person. There is not an easy way out, even though many of us may want that.

Change in Graduation Plans

There has recently been talk of changing the plans for Radford University’s graduation ceremony starting this year for the Spring 2018 graduation. The university wants to change the plan from an individual college graduation that gives recognition to each department to one single all-college ceremony. That is to say, Radford University would have a large graduation ceremony for every student, instead of each college receiving its own ceremony.

The biggest issues with this new plan is that it drastically increases the time for everyone involved and the ceremony becomes much more impersonal. This new ceremony plan forces students, and their family, to sit through several hours of graduation that has nothing to do with them. Individual departments will no longer receive recognition; departments like Geology, Geospatial, Anthropology, Women Studies, and others will be forgotten. Students will no longer have their moment of real recognition; instead they will be quickly cycled through for the sake of efficiency.

Our university has always advertised and prioritized small classes and personal connections among faculty and students. Students are able to develop close connections with their teachers, and on a day that celebrates a student’s personal work and achievements, this new plan suddenly strips them of that and makes them anonymous. Radford University prides itself on its close-knit community. This is a major selling point of the University. Yet, suddenly that key aspect of our community is being tossed aside.

There is currently a petition that is going around in opposition of the new graduation ceremony. The online petition is searching for 2,500 signatures. There is also a report available on the Radford webpage for the plans, factors, and decisions leading up to the new graduation ceremony.

Five Things I Would Tell Myself Before Coming to Radford

I don’t have many regrets since coming to Radford. But there are a few things that I would have done differently if I had the chance to go back and do them again. As a senior days away from graduation, here’s some things I’ve learned that have made me a much happier person.

Be real with people. Life is far too short to be fake around people. Tell people how you feel. Let them know if you’re happy or upset. Say “I love you” to people if you mean it. Learn to recognize your worth. Be vulnerable around those you trust and know that you’re human and it’s ok to have feelings and emotions.

Learn to love and accept yourself, and learn to be ok with being by yourself. A lot of learning to love yourself and being alright with who you are comes from doing what makes you happy, even if you’re doing it alone. I love to sing and listen to music so I sing (even though I’m no good at it) and listen to music a lot, and it makes me happy. If you like something about yourself, but someone else’s doesn’t, that’s their problem. Not yours. Learn to love all of you, even your flaws.

Don’t be afraid of failure or disappointment. For a while, I would avoid doing a lot of things because I was afraid of failing and being disappointed. Even something like asking someone what time it was if I didn’t know, because I felt like I had failed at knowing something simple. But I learned that life is full of disappointment and failure teaches you 10 times more than success ever does. No one likes to be disappointed and the feeling sucks, but you’ll be able to accomplish much more when you’re willing to risk disappointment to get what you want. And sometimes the risk will pay off.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. One thing I’ve learned is that people are a lot nicer than others give them credit for. Most people like helping others. So if you ask for help, most likely, they will be happy to help you or let you know something and it will make them feel good too. And remember that people aren’t against you—they’re for themselves.

Work hard. Play hard. Put effort into important things that need to be done. Schoolwork, your job—do these things in a way so that you’ll be proud of them. But then take time to have some fun and cherish those times when you’re hanging out doing nothing and being stupid with your friends. They’ll be gone way too fast.

My last bit of advice is one that my grandmother told me: You can’t reach your full potential as long as you’re always worried about pleasing other people and worried about what they think.

Why I’m Staying For Graduation Even Though I’m Not Graduating Yet

Photo of Kristen Jameson, Photo By Caitlin Horan

Last spring, I stayed for graduation even though I was only a sophomore. I stayed because I had some friends graduating and they convinced me a few more days at school wouldn’t hurt me because it was summer and I would be going home on vacation anyway. I’m very glad I ended up staying because I had a great weekend with some friends that I barely get to see anymore. This spring I will also be staying for graduation again even though I am a junior now and still have one more year before it’s my turn to graduate.

Most students are eager to be done with exams and head home for the summer. They are tired of being around the same people and they’re ready to go home to their families and homemade meals. I believe that sticking around for graduation is worth the sacrifice of a few extra days at home. It can be a hard decision choosing to stay at first because you just want to get home and think about summer and not having to do schoolwork or being anywhere near school. However, if you do stay you will find out that it was worth your time.

There are a bunch of families of the graduating students that come up for the whole weekend and it’s nice meeting everyone’s parents and siblings. Getting to hear stories from your friends’ childhoods and how or where they grew up is funny and interesting. Another perk of staying for graduation is the cookouts that everyone has all around at different apartments and houses. There’s a lot of food and desserts around everywhere and everyone is in a great mood because the parents are happy and proud of their kids graduating and the kids are happy and proud of themselves for graduating.

I couldn’t imagine not sticking around for graduation anymore. It’s something I’m looking forward to but also sad about because some of my best friends will be graduating this year. It’s a melancholy time celebrating graduation but it’s worth staying the extra few days and postponing the end of school year spring drive home for the summer.

An open letter to the best friend I’ll leave behind

This is my last semester here at Radford, and as excited as I am to start a new chapter and move to a new, exciting place, I can’t help but feel a certain level of sadness when I think about leaving my best friend behind.

So this is a letter to my best friend, and hopefully if you’re about to embark on a similar journey, it’ll give you and your BFF some peace of mind.

Dear Best Friend,

Graphic from Etsy.
“You’ll always be the best friend. “Graphic from Etsy.

I couldn’t imagine my life without you. You’ve accepted me at my very worst, while also celebrating with me at my very best. We’ve been through countless breakups, wild nights, tragedies and celebrations together. You’re the first person I call when I find out exciting news and when I’m falling apart. We’ve held one another while sobbing and we’ve shotgunned beers in celebration of new successes, which ultimately lead to me holding your hair back while you heaved over the toilet and told me how much you loved me.

We’ve been through it all together. You loved me even when I was an awkward middle-school kid, a slightly less awkward high-school kid, and an abundantly naive college freshman. I can’t count the nights we stayed up watching nerdy shows and movies and having in-depth discussions about life, boys, and drama. You’re the only friend I’ll ever tell my weird conspiracy theories to and the person who must approve of the boys I swoon after, even more so than my parents.

We came to college together and I always imagined us on our graduation day, popping a bottle of champagne in our caps and gowns. Perhaps some divine force saw things going a little differently, since we won’t be graduating at the same time. However, I want you to know that absolutely nothing is going to change when I pack my bags and move across the country. You’ll still be the first person I call when I land my first big-kid job, when I meet a cute boy, or want to vent about my weird neighbors.

You see, even though I’ll be over a thousand miles away from you, you’re still going to be my best friend. I may make friends in my new home state, and I may even make a new “best friend”. None of that matters though, because you’ll always be the best friend.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that distance is nothing but space between us, and we’re extremely lucky to live in a time with iPhones, FaceTime, Facebook, and various other forms of communication.

Sure, the stars may not align and I may not get to fly you out to see me every chance I get, but no matter what happens, or where we go in life, you’re always going to be my best friend. Even when we’re both married and have our own lives far away from each other, I’m going to sit on the couch with a glass of wine and call you as often as possible. I won’t let mere miles keep me from loving and keeping up with you.


Love always,

Your Best Friend.


5 of the best cities in the U.S. for creative college graduates

New York City and Los Angeles are usually the two big cities that everyone thinks about when it comes to finding a home after graduation. While these cities are amazing and have a lot to offer young individuals, they are also extremely expensive and their mass appeal can make it hard to find entry-level jobs and affordable housing. If your dream is to leave college behind for a city, here are five cities to consider:

Seattle Cityscape with Mt. Rainier
“If your dream is to leave college behind for a city, here are five cities to consider…”

1) Seattle, Washington

Seattle is such an overlooked city. In addition to having great night life, dining, and entertainment, it also provides the chicken soup for your creative soul. Ample bookstores including the famous Elliot Bay Book Company, record stores, coffee shops perfect for writing or reading, and museums all nurse creativity and make Seattle the perfect place to call home.

2) San Francisco, California

In the grand scheme of things, people tend to treat San Francisco like Los Angeles’ younger, less attractive sibling. In reality though, it’s a terrific place to settle down. San Francisco is a culture hub, bearing tons of international marketplaces including a Chinatown, making it simple for you to expand your horizons. Like Seattle, San Fran is home to many cool attractions and museums such as The Exploratorium . It’s also the place to be if your dream is to ride everywhere in cable cars. Inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians is around every turn.

3) Boston, Massachusetts

Most people associate Boston with history. However, while Boston is a great place for history buffs to congregate, it’s also the home to many creative people. Home to Emerson College (a college for writers, filmmakers, actors, and other people looking to go into creative fields), Boston is filled to the brim with nature attractions perfect for those seeking some inspiration, theaters, and more.

4) Denver, Colorado

You can’t beat Denver if you want to be in touch with nature while still enjoying top notch food and entertainment. Take a hike in the mountains, take some pictures, scribble your thoughts in a journal and then adjourn to a playhouse for a show. You get the best of both city life and nature in Denver.

5) Portland, Oregon

While Oregon may seem like a “blah” state, Portland is actually one of the most creative cities in the U.S. Like the other cities on the list, it has everything a creative person could possibly want, from quiet bookshops, to noisy theaters, to thought provoking museums. However, at the same time, Portland is fairly affordable and so a great choice for a post-college grad trying to make it in the real world.

While NYC and LA certainly have their appeal, you can trade the insane population sizes and astronomical rent for these just as interesting places to call home.

Highlanders Anonymous: Leaving RU and switching majors

“Leaving Radford is my biggest fear. I’m not graduating or anything, I’m just going home for the summer and I’m dreading it more than anything. I have no friends back home, plus the guy I like is staying here and there’s no telling what he is going to be doing while I’m gone. I don’t want to leave Radford, but I clearly don’t have a choice since I live in the dorms. How can I make myself not hate being home as much? Continue reading Highlanders Anonymous: Leaving RU and switching majors

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to be keynote speaker at RU’s spring commencement

Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling will deliver the commencement address to graduating seniors, faculty, friends and family for spring commencement.

Bolling is a legislator working to stimulate the economy in Virginia as well as spark interest in health care, healthy living, cancer research and the issues Virginians face today and in the future. Bolling will address graduates on May 5, as a generation coming into adulthood while inheriting these issues. Continue reading Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to be keynote speaker at RU’s spring commencement

Graduate in style

Come May, the seniors of Radford University will have their moment of glory when they will walk across the stage and receive a diploma from RU. This year, instead of the same old black robes, RU undergraduates will walk in style in red graduation robes to commemorate RU’s Centennial. Students receiving their graduate degrees will still wear the black robes. Graduates will have the option of purchasing a robe that has the RU Centennial emblem embroidered on the robe for a small additional fee. RU administration chose to make the change to graduation attire to celebrate and acknowledge a point in our university’s history as an establishment that has assisted in higher education for 100 years. Making a fashion statement by a change of color will even more emphasize the importance of the Centennial.

There are mixed feelings from seniors around campus about the change of attire.

“I was planning on wearing a sash from my sorority during graduation, but the color combination will look horrible, so now I am torn about whether to order a Greek sash or not,” said a senior in Delta Zeta.

It is true that not all colors of sashes typically worn by members of Greek organizations will match. Generally turquoise (Zeta Tau Alpha), yellow (Alpha Sigma Tau) and purple (Phi Sigma Sigma) will not coordinate the best with the new color of the robes like they would black.

Other students are quite supportive of the color choice.

“I like that the university is promoting the Centennial in a unique way, I think it’s a cute idea,” said Nicole Pham, junior at RU. Though there will be many seniors graduating this year, RU has three other years of students following behind the class of 2010.

Since the robes will be changed back to black there are neutral opinions on campus as well.

“I honestly don’t care,” said sophomore Glenn Hastings. “I mean, it’s great for this year’s graduating class, but after this year it will go back to the same black robes as usual so it will not affect me at all.”

Having red robes instead of just the regular black will definitely make a statement and cause people to take notice that RU turns 100 this year. So here’s to RU’s 100th Birthday and a century of students graduating to become successful members of society. Congratulations to the spring graduating class of 2010!

Cover and story photo by Kasey Sutphin

Administration postpones graduation due to weather

Over the past two months, Radford University and the surrounding area has been pounded with a number of different winter weather storms. These storms were responsible for many different school closings and much more. One thing that many probably don’t think about is the stress placed upon those students who were scheduled to graduate this past December.

Commencement ceremonies were originally scheduled for Dec. 19, 2009, but due to the heavy snowfall following finals week, the administration was forced to postpone the ceremonies. Many graduates remain unhappy with the RU administration for postponing the ceremonies. The administration sent out countless emails to the student body about commencement ceremonies and encouraged recent graduates who had a hard time arriving to RU for the ceremonies not to even make an attempt traveling to the university.

Putting myself in their shoes, I would be highly upset with the administration to receive a degree when they suggest I not travel to my own commencement ceremonies. Instead, they want those who cannot make it to wait until spring commencement to participate in the ceremony. No way would I personally want to wait another three months in order to walk across the stage for graduation.

One thing that is upsetting many graduates is why the administration would decide that the roads are any safer for those graduates and their families to travel following this snow storm. The storm that RU was hit by the first time was just as bad as this second, more recent storm that pounded the Radford area. Many don