By Audrey Thames
“Sorry, you’re not invited.”
I never thought I would become that person. As a matter of fact, I’m sure none of us seniors thought we would become those people. Sadly, that’s the case as graduation approaches. I’m sure by now we’ve all heard about this “new” ticket policy for graduation. You know…the one administration waited less than two months before graduation to inform us about. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for the safety of the campus community and guests, and I want nothing more than for me and my well-earned degree to quietly stage left without any issues. But, to tell students with such short notice is simply inconsiderate.
I understand that last year’s commencement was somewhat crowded and surely was in violation of some fire safety code. However, the fact that it occurred last year, nearly eleven months ago, means that the school had more than enough time to fill us in on this new policy. They knew immediately after the Class of 2015 walked across that stage that this had the potential to be an issue for the Class of 2016. We all know that institutions think long and hard on any decisions made. Even some form of a heads-up during the fall semester would have been nice.
Just imagine how hard it is informing family members, friends, organization members, teammates, mentors, past faculty and even alumni that they can no longer attend your college graduation. The same individuals who have helped us all get to this point, whether they provided a late night phone call, an inspirational text message, a card in the mail with five dollars for gas or food, scholarly advice, letters of recommendation or even just a distraction from the pressure of school.
Admittedly, I would have still been upset over the news if I was told last semester, but not nearly as upset because that would have been a decent amount of time to at least warn people. The thing about telling us now is that we’ve already invited significant people who we want to share this monumental moment with because we were always under the impression that anyone and everyone is welcome. That’s one of the things that made Virginia Wesleyan unique. So, to have to turn around and retract that invitation not only makes students look bad, but makes the entire campus seem utterly unprepared, unresponsive and uninterested.
What do we tell those who have already booked flights, reserved hotels, requested off work and made any arrangements necessary to be present? One of the things my professors have taught me throughout my college career is to never wait until the last minute. Procrastination is the thief of time. Well, this could not be more applicable. I feel there had to have been other options, even if it meant having my own graduation at another school or a city venue. It’s not fair to us or those who have helped us make it to the end. And we deserve more than just an email.
Now, please excuse me while I draw the lucky names for my seven tickets.