Counterpoint: Walking At Graduation

Recently a heated debate has sparked over the new changes to St. Mary’s graduation ceremony. If you have not heard about these new changes-we will now graduate via last name instead of major- then you clearly do not have a Facebook page. Seemingly overnight a group named “SMCM 2011 Majors Should Walk Together” formed and since then students who disagree with the decision have been encouraged to storm the President’s inbox with emails. While my own graduation is a year away, every time I see the invite to join the group and take a stance against this injustice I cannot help but question the motives of those so thoroughly against walking alphabetically; then after I question their motives I go back to more important things, like homework.

Naturally, people get upset when you attempt to change a long standing tradition, especially when they feel as though they have not been consulted over the change. This seems to be the source of a lot of anger from the St. Mary’s student body, or at least that is the impression I received when I decided to check out the Facebook group one night during a fit of procrastination.

Before reading the wall I assumed that the idea of walking alphabetically was either generally accepted, or people had better things to do with their day then contemplate who you will be standing next to when you walk. I soon discovered that I could not have been more wrong.

People are really up in arms about this and have even started a letter/ email group to President Joseph Urgo and Assistant Vice President for Academic Administration Mark Heidrich. When I read some of the posts I could not help but burst out in a fit of laughter at how seriously some people are taking this.

As someone who could care less about who I stand next to when I graduate I have a very difficult time taking this action seriously, and am actually a little upset that my fellow students will start a counter boycott towards a movement to ban Chick-fil-A but the second you suggest they have to stand next to someone they may not know they unite against the administration. I am all for student activism, in fact one of the things that I love about St. Mary’s is that my fellow students care so much about having their voices heard. However, I feel like the energy that is being expended on this campaign could be better placed elsewhere.

Sure the sentiment is understandable – my last name starts with a “Z” so once again I am graduating dead last – but is graduating by major really the most important part of your college graduation? No. Probably not. Not once in this entire argument have I heard anyone mention the fact that if we manage to make it past four years and graduate college we are pretty darn lucky.

Who cares what major we graduated in? In twenty years that is not going to matter for a majority of us.

What should matter is that we managed to survive four years of class, lab, professors, and campus life and made it out of here in one piece. Whenever someone begins a discussion about how by not graduating by individual major we are not being recognized for our individual achievement I have the urge to scream out that we are all being recognized as being college graduates.

If people are so worried about individual recognition than let’s add personal bios to the entire ceremony so we can make sure everyone receives their due. Just kidding. Graduations are already boring enough.


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