The First Thing I’ve Ever Cared About At Hofstra in 3 and A Half Years: We Want Our Graduation

Something indescribable and unexplainable happened to me sometime between leaving high school and arriving in my first college class. I generally just stopped caring about extracurricular things aside from taking naps and going to work. While I was still very concerned about my grades, you couldn’t begin to convince me that a potential employer was going to care if I was mildly involved in every club on campus the way my potential educators once cared about my high school activities. In high school, I had a hand in, literally, almost every academic club and honor society offered. That has not been the case at Hofstra.

While everyone made a real effort freshman year, I mostly watched a lot of TV in my dorm, took naps and attended 4 meetings of the Film Club. After I moved home sophomore year and started working off campus again, there was no hope to be had. Future generations, this was the wrong decision. Do as I say, not as I do. Get involved on campus. You will benefit enormous amounts. I’d love to go back three years, be in a sorority and involved heavily in student media and maybe student government. The most fun I’ve ever had on campus was my brief career as a Rugby player. Those girls are some of my only friends on campus despite the fact that I was only able to play one semester. Clubs are cool. Do them. It will all end too quickly.

ANWAY, my point: Hofstra has taken my lack of participation in student causes and decided to turn it on me at the only time it actually matters.

While I technically receive my degree in December, I made the decision to participate in the spring commencement ceremony.  It poured the day of my high school graduation and we had to rush through the presentation of diplomas, so I’ve never been able to enjoy a big outdoor ceremony with all of my friends. I have one picture of me with my friends in a cap and gown and we’re all trying to keep composure in the threat of the looming downpour. I was very excited to be able to have this experience, on a much grander scale, at college. Not to mention, because Hofstra’s schedule is always bizarre, all of my friends would be able to come and see me and my best friend – Cassie – graduate. Also, while I don’t have a ton of friends at school, I do have some and most of them are graduating in May so to be able to experience commencement with them rather than the assortment of strangers that will graduate in December would be preferable.

So, after making the arrangements to walk at graduation in May, I get the email: The new schedule for spring commencement. To account for weather, Hofstra has made the decision to move gradation from the outdoor [mostly unused,due to the cancellation of our varsity football program] football stadium as an un-ticketed and open event, to indoors in our basketball arena and each student will be provided five tickets. How will they fit everyone if each student has five people coming, you ask? Oh. It’s simple. They’ve broken up the ceremony by school. This means that my two best friends who are receiving degrees from the School of Education and School of Liberal Arts and Sciences will, in fact, not even be graduating with me because my graduation will be at a different time than theirs. This means I could not have only graduated in December with no actual consequence, but I could’ve not participated in graduation at all and saved some money on a cap and gown. I have friends in the school of comm and I love them a lot, but it means much more to me to graduate with Cassie and Jess and Amanda – non of whom are comm students.

So now, because I’ve spent so much time being uninvolved in school things, I have no idea the means by which I can do something about this. Thankfully, a group of kids a lot more involved in things than I am is doing something about it and I’m going to ride their coat tails. But, I dont understand how the powers that be at Hofstra are allowed to just slip an enormous announcement like that by in an email. I’ll be in debt for the rest of my life just to go there. They should probably ask me if it’s cool before they rearrange my plans like that. Don’t get me wrong, I understand their rationale – weather and things – but I’d really rather risk inclement weather than forfeit my graduation ceremony up front. We’re Americans. We don’t live in fear. Especially not fear of rain.

This is my plea, Hofstra. Please listen to us. I want a big, hot, sweaty, outdoor graduation that I can complain about for the rest of time. It’s in writing now so I can never curse you for not moving it indoors to the air conditioned arena. This is what we want!

My best friends and I braving the elements at Central High School’s 2009 graduation ceremony
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Let’s start at the Beginning – a very good place to start.

Well, the beginning of my story – the part of the story that people who aren’t legally obligated to love me will care about, anyway – is Fall of 2008 when I chose the wrong college.

Ya see, if you really want to know, in high school, I was brilliant. Not valedictorian brilliant, but the kind of kid who was pretty good friends with the valedictorian but still illegally drank beer in the woods on the weekends. Essentially, with the exception of Ivy League schools, I probably would’ve gotten in anywhere I applied. The summer before senior year, B.U was my dream school. I was in love with the idea of living in Boston. Something about cold Massachusetts winters just screams “collegiate”. However, the summer before my senior year was also the summer John ruined my life. Now, in retrospect, breaking up with John was actually laughable. We only dated about a month and I use the word “dated” as loosely as possible. Mostly we hung out at his house and watched movies. Occasionally, we took a trip to the cheesecake factory. Once, he made me stand in goal and shot hockey pucks at me to warm up for his Ice Hockey game. But, I was seventeen and we were truly in love and when he broke up with me before he left for college in Massachusetts, it ruined my life. Just to quote him and remind the world how awful of a human being he is, there would be “a lot of girls at college. I don’t want to limit myself”. I wish I could show you all a picture of the two of us in high school without being a cruel, awful, shallow person, but he was not the one in the scenario who could’ve done better and that’s where I’ll leave it. I was so angry at him, even still in October when I was filling out applications, that I refused to attend a University in the same state as him. (I have to be clear. He did NOT attend a Boston based school. He was at some tiny little school in suburban Mass.  It’s my life mission to make sure he gets no credit he doesn’t actually deserve. Judge me.) My application to B.U never even got submitted. (As I understand it, John currently dates an 8th grader and works full time at a grocery store. I hope he’s very happy.)

Hofstra was my fall back school. There was no question that I’d get in on merit alone, but my recommendation letter from a Hofstra professor certainly didn’t hurt my chances either. Their admissions rep visited my school and told me on site that I’d been accepted. A few weeks later I was invited into their Honors College and a few weeks after that I received my scholarship offer. And, that, my friends, was the extent of my college admissions process. Brilliant, but immeasurably lazy. If I had worked half as hard in high school as I’ve had to in college, I would’ve been valedictorian. Ask my mom. She tells me all the time.  I was accepted to a school whose average accepted SAT scores were nearly 200 points under what I’d gotten on the test. But, I was a senior taking 5 AP courses. I was tired of working and felt horribly guilty asking my parents for money for applications, so the buck stopped there – literally. I was going to Hofstra.

As a disclaimer, Hofstra’s a pretty good school, don’t get me wrong. However, as a Film Student, I probably would’ve been better served by about a million other places. Also, I probably would’ve been better served as a TV or Business major but those are things I don’t like to think about. Also, I make no excuses about why I ended up at the wrong school. I was too lazy to do the research or figure out where I actually belonged. My predicament was no one’s fault but my own. But I made the best out of my situation. I met some great people and have had a pretty outstanding experience the past three years.

A lot of things happened in between 2008 and now. I made a couple friends on campus but mostly hung around with the old ones from home, accumulated thousands of dollars of debt, “dated” a couple dudes who put John’s level of douchebaggery to actual shame. Like, knowing them and knowing him, I’ve often wondered if maybe he wasn’t so awful. (He was.) I spent a month abroad, worked my ass off at a job I hate for virtually no money, gained 30 lbs and lost 35 (simply by moving home and eating my moms cooking regularly again) and most recently, I’ve learned what actual heartbreak feels like, which reaffirmed my suspicion that I was more in love with my prom dress than I was with John back in the high school days.

But – here I am! There’s no turning back after three years of grinning and bearing it. I’m in my second week of my final semester of Undergrad, which will more than likely be my final semester of school ever. As it stands, I have no plans of going to grad school. I have landed an internship, I have a job interview for something I would actually enjoy doing and that’s related to my $100,000 education and I couldn’t be more simultaneously excited and terrified.

And so, I will share this journey with you – my readers. (reads: my parents and good friends…). And sometimes maybe I’ll share some other Creative Writing pieces I do for fun, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. I’m a busy lady.

P.S I would like to thank John for saving me roughly $20,000 in school loans. B.U is super expensive.