Graduation Day

Yesterday was Graduation Day here at Delta State.  Like most universities, there was a processional in which the faculty marched.  I was among it.  DSU has two graduations, one in May and the other in December, and most faculty at the library volunteered to march in the later.  Thus the three new people were left to line up during yesterday’s Commencement.  Honestly though it wasn’t that bad. Being so much smaller than where I went to school the whole ceremony lasted about two hours.  The weather was great and surprisingly the speaker was actually very good.

Being on the other side of the isle, so to speak, felt different.  This year marks the first time I attended a graduation ceremony as a faculty member.  It won’t be my last and for that reason was not the same.  Being a librarian my perspective is different than teaching faculty.  These aren’t my students specifically.  So it was perhaps less emotional for me.  All the same it’s hard to imagine I was in that line only a year and a half ago. Commencement really does drive home that I have achieved something real and started a new chapter in my life.

A few things stand out.  At the end of the ceremony all of the faculty lined up on either side of the aisle.  The students then marched between us and out the door.  Problem was a lot of them decided to reach out and hug their favorite professor.  What was supposed to be a neat recessional thus broke down and took longer than necessary.  No wonder SUNY Albany didn’t do that.

I also learned that Delta State students don’t have the opportunity to buy their regalia. Whether any of them care is beyond me, but I doubt it.  Quite a few people didn’t even walk so their minds are probably elsewhere.  But I like to hang on to things and would not have been happy if the choice to buy hadn’t been there for me.  Evidently there is one company which provides regalia for the entire state, even high schools. However only faculty members have the option to buy graduation regalia.  These sorts of arrangements seem to be common in Mississippi.  For one reason or another the educational institutions in the state seem to act as a group and purchase goods and services from the same companies.

Ultimately for me this was just another event.  It was an important one of course, but did not have the same significance as when I was a student.  Part of the reason is that I’m on a 12 month contract so the summer is just a time for more work and the library is deep into its preparations for the arrival of Teach for America’s Summer Institute in June.  Yesterday could be the first of 30 or more graduations for me.  I’m not trying to degrade the importance of it only to try and capture how different the event was for me as a faculty member.  Nevertheless summer is here.  Delta State, outside the library, is going into vacation mode. There’s budgets to compile, projects to work on, and preparations to be made.   Like all such things May 10th, 2014 was both an end and a beginning.

Article by Mike

Mike is the Head of Discovery Services for the Delta State University Library. He has lived in Cleveland since May 2013.

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