Point Counterpoint: To Walk or Not to Walk

The End is Not Today

One could say I have a lot of transcript baggage. Applying for schools this past December proved how difficult — and expensive — it can be to round up transcripts from different schools around the country.

SCC is my third school in my postsecondary education. Prior, I spent a semester at Arizona State, a year down in Portland and now I’m finishing off my associates degree at SCC.

With graduation around the corner, many classmates asked if I was going to participate in the graduation ceremony. Honestly, I have no desire.

While some see getting your associate’s degree as a major milestone in their education, I see it as simply part of the moving pieces that have made up my educational career — not the finish line.

It’s like a kindergarten graduation for me. We all know that kindergartener is going to continue on with first, second, third grade and so on. I know I am going to reach my goal of having a bachelor’s degree, so I would rather just celebrate when I reach that point.

While I am thankful for the people I have met at SCC and the lessons I have learned, I don’t view walking at graduation a way to honor that. I’ve already said my “thank yous” and “goodbyes.” I don’t think walking in front of everyone would equate to me honoring that any more.

My mentor, who has been there for me through every school change, also graduated with her two year degree from SCC. In total, my mentor attended seven different colleges before she finally finished with her bachelor’s degree. While (hopefully) it won’t take me as long to achieve that goal, it was comforting to know that she too chose not to walk when she got her associate’s from SCC.

Mostly, the people that have helped me get to this point know how thankful I am of their support and walking at graduation isn’t going to show them that any more. My mother, who has sat through at least seven orientations (and at least one more to come!), my boyfriend, who has fallen asleep while I’m still up trying to finish a paper and my father, who makes extra goodies for me to snack on when a big assignment is due.

I’m grateful for all of you and everyone else who has helped me get to this point. Here’s to two more years to get this bad boy done!

-Sidney Shea

These Boots are Made for Walking

There are so many reasons students choose not to walk for graduation at a two-year community college that it’s silly to think I didn’t contemplate it myself when my classmates at school asked if I would.

I already have an existing bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. I did the whole ceremonial walk down the stage to receive my diploma years ago. I am all good on that front. I felt like I didn’t need to experience that again. Or so I thought.

So when I was asked by my wife if I would be walking, it only took that one look of concern from her to change my mind.

It’s not that I’m a complete pushover and I only do what my partner thinks I should, but it dawned on me I wasn’t going to just be walking for myself. The act of walking to get that diploma, it isn’t just for the student.

Two years ago, it was my partner who saw something in me that prompted her to ask me if I wanted to go back to school. Being 38 at the time, in the middle of a successful culinary career and doing adult things like paying a mortgage, I never dared to think about it. Thinking about it, to me, was a pointless exercise if nothing came of it.

A conversation stemmed out of that simple observation she made from having seen my life interests change and followed up with an equally simple question, “Do you want to go back to school?”
My reply was, “How would that be possible?” Her response: “We’ll make it work.”

It’s two years later and somehow we made it work. The sacrifices she made along the way were many. If she wants to see me walk, I am going to do just that. It’s a victory lap for the two of us.

Of course, it will be nice to see friends from the visual communication technology department, fellow students from the newspaper and all the people I met over the years walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.

But it will be especially gratifying knowing someone else will take pleasure in seeing me receive my diploma.

-Martin Musialczyk