Graduation, oh sweet victory. Getting to walk across that stage, moving the tassel from one side of the cap to the other and receiving that diploma you stayed up countless nights for the past four years (or more) working towards. Looking up at your now alma mater for your final goodbye—but wait, Georgia State’s fall 2017 graduating class won’t be. They’ll be looking up at Georgia Tech.
Georgia State, you saw it coming. You must have known the minute you sent out that email we would have something to say. You know, the email you sent to all seniors informing them that, yet again, the Georgia State commencement will take place at a university that none of us attended.
A college that none of us put hard work, dedication, sweat, blood, tears, time, and sacrifice into. A university that none of us Georgia State students have spent tens of thousands of dollars to attend. A buzzing campus where not a single Panther can be found– Georgia Tech.
This isn’t an eighth grade ceremony confirming your right of passage into the world of adolescence. It’s not the last day of summer camp when commemorative T-shirts are handed out and names checked off like roll call as our parents pick us up from carpool.
This is a college graduation. This is the official nod of approval and shake of the hand from the real world. It’s the end, but it’s also the beginning. And it’s an opportunity to feel a little Panther pride as we wave to our loved ones and walk across a stage that doesn’t belong to another university.
It’s also a time for inspiration. It’s a monumental occasion when someone we look up to looks at us and tells us this is our time to shine. It’s time for a little keynote speaker motivation before heading out into the “real” world. But alas, that is one more (or less) thing that this semester’s graduates will not receive.
At the very least, will this semester’s graduating class be handed diplomas instead of oversized sleeping shirts (made from cheap cotton)? Like last year’s students, will they have to decide between which grandma and grandpa gets to come due to limited ticket availability? Will they get to smile a feeling of accomplishment as they listen to their keynote speaker feed them words of wisdom?
Last year, we could understand why seniors had to graduate from a different campus. Georgia State didn’t have a stadium of it’s own and all the other venues were already scheduled.
We know the Mercedes- Benz luxury isn’t currently accepting third-party events. And we understand that December is not the ideal time for an outdoor commencement at the Panther Stadium.
But if you can spend thousands of dollars to buy a new stadium, and we can spend thousands of dollars to attend your institution and uphold your graduation rates, then there is definitely a solution to this problem. There is a solution somewhere in this giant city of conference centers and arenas.
We can’t begin to understand what it takes to plan a graduation ceremony for hundreds of students, but we’ve all also known that this day was coming for a long time. Why is it that we are finding out in October that we will graduate on Dec. 13? Why does it feel like this is just being thrown together for the fall graduates? We love this school, but where is your love for us, Georgia State?