Finals Should be Final

After two years of hard work, with all the sacrifices endured by family and friends to get a student to a point where they will be engaging in the final act of the graduation ceremony, it doesn’t seem fair finals week would follow the celebration. But that is exactly how it is set up.

At SCC, and apparently other institutions these days, graduation takes place the weekend before finals week. What?! Hold the phone.

In a school where a sizable portion of the student body is international, this seems backwards.

Even with a large student population that is out of state or a transplant, families wanting to see their student graduate by traveling via car, train or airplane and possibly staying to get a chance to see some of Shoreline’s and Seattle’s attractions are met with, “Hey, sorry. I can’t spend time with you guys. I have to study for finals.”

Some people say this is the way it’s been done for years. Why would we change it now?

Because there are families choosing not to come to graduation because they don’t want to hinder their child’s chances at doing well during finals week as they might be a distraction.

By having graduation the Sunday before the week of finals, students are also forced to choose whether they want to sacrifice that day to graduate rather than use that day to study.

It just isn’t fair for students to have to choose whether to celebrate their two year achievement or choose to do the responsible thing by studying for their final exams or finishing up final projects.

What if the school moved graduation to the weekend following finals week? This would allow the students to be able to spend time with their families that may have travelled a great distance to see them walk and then connect the following days doing whatever people do after a long time of not seeing each other.

An all too common situation: International student comes to America, pays an enormous amount of time and money for an education and to be able to graduate at the end of it all and then any family willing to make the flight over to see them walk is severely hampered by the fact that the student has to endure finals week after the graduation ceremony.

It makes more sense to have the practice graduation ceremony the Friday before finals week, and then have the graduation the Sunday after finals, allowing families to come together to see these students walk. Then they can enjoy their time afterwards exploring the city where their child or loved one chose to go to to get their education.

According to Alison Stevens, the executive vice president for academic and student affairs, “The college is very interested in changing the date of graduation, but it involves a conversation with all the constituencies. We’re going to look at what we can do for next year.”

-Martin Musialczyk