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May 23, 2010 / Brent Sears

Graduation Experience

Yesterday was the first time I had been in a graduation ceremony since high school.  My parents put a lot of effort into getting me to that moment so they said I had to go.  But since then I have always skipped commencement because I had better things to do.  This time I was doing it for the students, serving as a faculty marshal and directing people before, during, and after the ceremony.

During the ceremonies was the most fun, because I was stationed on the platform putting students sitting on the left side of the floor into two lines to receive their diplomas, and then receiving students from the right side for the student photos as the exited the stage.  This was exhausting by the end of then day when almost 1,200 students were “processed.”

It felt like a cross between a cattle herder and a flight attendant.  The former because I had to make sure all the students on my side of the arena were in two lines as they  went up to have their names read, and the latter because when the other side of the room went I had to receive students for the photo, say thank you immediately after the click, and hurry them off the risers to keep the line moving.

Hey, but they did get to shake the hand of the president of the college when they received their degree.  If I had my own graduation to do over again…I would still skip it for a more personal experience.



Leave a Comment
  1. Linsey / May 23 2010 20:38

    The cattle analogy hit the nail on the head. I didn’t even have time to think up there, much less acknowledge and recognize my friends’ accomplishments. I think I would have rather had a small ceremony within my major. A lot of us are friends, and we all would have loved to have chatted/taken photos with our professors of 4 years. The students and professors seemed to have become a little family. I would have enjoyed spending time with them and having my family meet them. Oh well. Graduation ceremonies will be different when I start my own school.

  2. brentsears / May 23 2010 21:38

    I love it!!! A small reception with all the faculty of a major or department would be much better. Those are the people who really made the difference.

    We now have the capabilities to connect on smaller levels and coordinate group action for next to nothing. It would be easy to have a get together for professors, students, and their families. It wouldn’t be as efficient, but it would be an unforgettable experience.

    Build your school on what it to be, not on what was. You’ll do it!

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