WCU students discuss graduation angst


WCU senior trying on gown for graduation. Photo by Zane Perkins.

This weekend will be the final hoorah for Western Carolina University seniors. The graduation ceremony will be on the football field, barring any unpleasant weather. If it rains then the ceremony will move to the Ramsey Center.

There will be three ceremonies. One at 7 p.m. on May 6 for WCU’s Graduate School. One at 10 a.m. on May 7 for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Allied Professions and Fine and Performing Arts. Finally, there will be a ceremony May 7 at 2 p.m. for the College of Business, College of Health and Human Sciences, and Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.

WCU will be having its fifth straight record spring graduating class. There will be exactly 1,465 graduates, which will be the largest class in university history and about 50 more graduates than there were in last year’s class. The size of WCU’s spring graduating class has doubled since 2004.

Once the graduation ceremony has concluded, it will be time for everyone to go their separate paths. A new chapter of their lives starts and it will be different for each person. Some will move on into the real world and begin careers in many different fields. Others will go on to pursue their master’s degree while some may decide to start their own business.

Jonathan Parisi, a former Student Government Association senator and business administration and law major at WCU, will start law school in the fall and credits WCU for helping him get this far.

Jonathan Parisi

Photo of Jonathan Parisi. Photo provided by Parisi with permission.

“WCU has an amazing college of business program,” said Parisi. “I am very thankful to be a part of that and to graduate from that. After college I am going to go off to law school. I already have been accepted to my number one choice and I think Western has prepared me well.”

Another senior that graduates Saturday is Matt Davis. Davis is a Marketing major at WCU. He already has a job lined up and will be moving to Orlando, Fla., later this month. He is taking on a position in account management with Schindler Elevator.  

“I will be working with other companies that help install elevators. I will be doing a lot of contracts and making sales. I did a lot with Western’s Marketing Department. I was very close with my professors and that really helped me get prepared for the industry. The professors at WCU do a lot for their students. They care about us and helping us get prepared for the real world,” Davis said.

A problem that many college students face once graduating is being able to move past that part of their life. It can be hard to say goodbye to some of the people that you grew deep connections with in your years as a college student.

“What I will miss most about college is the people,” said Parisi. “When I first came to WCU, I was really nervous, but I have made a lot of great friends and a lot of great memories.”

Photo of Matt Davis

Photo of Matt Davis. Taken by Bradley Sell.

Beginning a career can be a very nerve-racking idea, especially when you have never had one before.

“What I am most nervous about when it comes to starting my professional career is having to deal with all the bills,” said Tyler Harrison, a criminal justice major at WCU.“Doing big boy work and starting a career and knowing that this could be the rest of your life. But mainly the bills.”

One thing is for certain, life after college will not always be easy. There will be struggles and walls you will have to climb in order to expand your career, but hopefully Western did a great job in preparing you for those struggles so that you can overcome them.

“I have had a great four years here at Western,” said Parisi. “I am a little nervous about moving to a new location, but I definitely feel like the skills that I have acquired at WCU will help me get to know people better there.”