BY MEGAN SOUDER
Students are decorating their caps, gathering their gowns and preparing to take the stage for Salisbury University’s Fall 2018 Commencement.
The ceremony is being held at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center on Dec. 19. Often compared to the spring commencement, many students believe the fall commencement is a toned-down version, and something inferior, because it is less traditional to graduate in the winter term.
According to Provost Project Manager and Salisbury University Commencement Planner Kimberly Meyer, December graduation is a smaller scale ceremony in the aspect of attendance but by no means in the level of celebration.
“We include all of the same components as the May ceremonies – special awards, honors recognition, student commencement speaker and the traditional walk across the stage by our graduates,” Meyer said. “The stage is lined with beautiful red poinsettias that celebrate the festive occasion.”
In addition to a festive venue and a shorter ceremony due to less students in the graduating class, students who graduate early also have the advantage of applying to jobs on the “off season” as opposed to spring graduates.
The fall commencement ceremony is just as unique as the paths that the students took to get there. Traditionally, the societal expectation of students is for them to finish high school, apply to a university, attend classes and graduate in four years.
There is a stigma surrounding students who don’t follow that path, who may decide to go to a community college or take more time than the customary four years.
Allison Brannon, a communications major with a concentration in human communication and a minor in psychology, first attended Carroll Community College to receive her associate degree before transferring to SU.
Because of her time spent at community college, Brannon was able to not only graduate early, but also graduate as a member of Psi Chi and Lambda Pi Eta honor societies, along with receiving the Latin honors of Summa Cum Laude.
People sometimes frown upon going to a community college and may assume it’s a “watered-down version of a four-year college.”
Brannon found community college to be a great place to learn about her academic interests and take care of general education classes without paying the full price of two-year tuition.
It’s a financially responsible decision, and in Brannon’s experience, it was not a hindrance to her academics and was the best option for her.
For many students, including Brannon, it may also be difficult adjusting to transferring.
“When I transferred to Salisbury, it was a bit of a culture shock because it was a very different environment than community college,” Brannon said. “But luckily, I met a lot of great friends, and some of my closest friends have even come from group projects,” Brannon said.
One of Brannon’s favorite memories at SU was a group project in which her and her group members conducted a food drive.
“It was a semester-long project. The group got so close, and it was such a win when we donated the food,” Brannon said.
When it comes down to her career goals, Brannon explained that SU’s curriculum has helped her to “widen her goals globally.”
Brannon is finishing her credits by going on a two-week study abroad trip to Scotland with the communications department in January and will be pursuing a job after.
Although her time at SU is coming to an end, Brannon gave some words of advice to the current and incoming students at the university.
“Make sure you get involved on campus somehow, and choose friends that support your goals academically and socially,” Brannon said. “The people you surround yourself with will help you figure out how your time is best spent.”
Featured photo by Megan Souder
Caption: Graduating senior Allison Brannon poses with her decorated graduation cap in preparation to walk the stage on Dec. 19.