Seniors deal with excitement, anxiety over graduating

Nizhoni Terronez

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Chanez Symister, chemistry senior, helps Algerr Remy, biology senior, with some of her homework Tuesday in the Student Support Services computer lab in MaGaha Hall. Symister has been a teacher’s assistant in chemistry for two years. Symister said, "After graduation I would like to work in industry. I love synthesis. You get to work in a lab to make something." Photo by Lauren Roberts

Chanez Symister, chemistry senior, helps Algerr Remy, biology senior, with some of her homework Tuesday in the Student Support Services computer lab in MaGaha Hall. Symister has been a teacher’s assistant in chemistry for two years. Symister said, “After graduation I would like to work in industry. I love synthesis. You get to work in a lab to make something.” Photo by Lauren Roberts

“There’s 77 days until graduation,” said Chanez Symister, biology senior. “Not that I’m counting or anything. But, yeah, I’m excited.”

Symister has a countdown on her phone set to the exact date and time of this December’s graduation ceremony. While other soon-to-be graduates may not be as precise in their excitement as Symister, college graduation is a landmark event in any students’ life.

The application deadline for December graduation was Monday, but Symister said there’s a lot more work than registering that goes into getting ready for graduation.

“I have a calendar with all of my deadlines on it,” Symister said. “I have to make sure my resume is out by a certain day, have it reviewed, you know. I know I’m ready, but I’m maybe not as prepared as I should be. I’m on that borderline of ‘I’m so happy to graduate’ and ‘I am so dreading to graduate.'”

Symister is a transfer student from the island of Antigua in the Caribbean. She transferred from the University of the West Indies in Antigua to Midwestern State University  in the fall of 2011. Symister said she has been looking forward to college graduation since she was a little girl, and even started a savings account for college when she was in sixth grade.

“I opened my first bank account with my mom, and we went to the bank together in grade six and I thought, ‘Yes, this is for my college!’ ” Symister said. “At graduation everyone is going to look at me and say ‘Hey what’s next?’ and I’m going to be like ‘I don’t know.'”

“I’m dreading it, but at the same time, to get my first degree is so exciting.”

Biology senior Tiffiney Lake also graduates in December and, like Symister, said she is excited to be nearly finished, but nervous about starting her next chapter in life.

However, unlike Symister, Lake started college at MSU. She declared her major as a freshman, but said “freshmen shouldn’t be afraid to change their majors.”

“If you don’t know what you want to do as a freshman it’s not the end of the world,” Lake said. “If you started a major and didn’t like it, don’t be afraid to change it. I’ve had a lot of friends that were doing their majors just because they just wanted to stick with it.  There were other things they could’ve been doing that they would’ve found more fulfilling as a college student.”

Lake said some of her favorite college memories includes going to Arlington at the Cowboy’s stadium to watch the football games there.

“I don’t particularly like football, but watching the game you can always feel the excitement of the other students,” Lake said. “Even the bus ride down there is fun. You can make new friends. Those games are always fun.”

Despite all the fun she said she had, Lake said students shouldn’t forget to learn. Lake said sometimes the pressure to earn high grades can distract from our actual goal: to learn.

“I’ve had classes where I felt like there was a point and time that was just like ‘OK, I have to get the grade, the grade, it’s just all about the grade,’ ” Lake said. “And at the end of class I would be like, ‘OK, what was this class about again?’ Sometimes I didn’t know what I was doing that whole time, it was just all about finishing the assignments and seeing how high my grades were. Just make sure you learn instead of focusing deeply on a assignment, actually understand what you’re doing.”

Mass communication senior Caitlyn Cremeens from Burkburnett said that balancing a job, homework, and a social life are some difficulties that students may encounter during college. Although Cremeens doesn’t graduate until this spring in May, she said she is ready to graduate now, and is even considering moving to DFW or Austin after school.

“I’m just ready to get out into the real world, I’m ready to move,” Cremeens said. “I love Wichita Falls, but I’m ready to move somewhere new and start over and I think that’s really exciting. I also love my major and minor so I’m ready to start my career and dive right in.”

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