Walking across the stage and getting her diploma will be a bittersweet moment for Miyalani Wagner as her college experience comes to an end.
Wagner started Thrift and Flop, a sustainable clothing exchange club, in 2020 and formed a tight circle of friends during her time at Temple University. She will miss seeing them in person but is looking forward to celebrating her achievements at graduation next week, she said.
“It just has everything come full circle and it makes you have a sense of accomplishment,” said Wagner, a senior communication studies and psychology double major.
Temple’s commencement is on May 5 for all graduating students and individual colleges will hold smaller ceremonies for students throughout May. As graduation approaches, seniors are reflecting on their Temple experiences and looking forward to having a more normal graduation after last year’s commencement was in-person with social distancing, masks and plastic barriers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wagner was worried that graduation would be virtual due to COVID-19, but is excited she gets to walk across the stage and experience commencement in person at the Klein College of Media and Communication graduation ceremony, she said.
“I’m really excited just to be part of all that camaraderie and be around a ton of people that I’ve been with for four years and just everyone being excited and the vibes being high,” Wagner said.
Jackson Oligino has been waiting to graduate college since high school and is excited to finally start his career, he said.
“Usually your bachelor’s degree is just the next step until you go on to your career, so it feels like I finally accomplished that and can move forward,” said Oligino, a senior advertising major.
Oligino also plans to attend Klein’s ceremony and skip the university-wide commencement, which is the following morning, to celebrate with his family instead before going home to Exton, Pennsylvania, that night, he said.
Will McGlone will miss professors, like his psychology professor Ronald Taylor, who are passionate about what they teach, but is eager to gain real world experience working as a psychologist, which he sees as the next step toward eventually earning his doctorate in clinical psychology.
McGlone plans to attend the College of Liberal Arts’ undergraduate ceremony to celebrate the milestone of finishing his undergraduate career, he said.
“This is an opportunity to recognize your hard work and really acknowledge that it’s a turning point and you only graduate from college as an undergrad once,” said McGlone, a senior psychology major.
McGlone is glad commencement is in person because graduation is a special occasion and a virtual ceremony doesn’t recognize that achievement as well as an in-person ceremony does, he said.
“It’s less of an event if you’re staying home at your computer, there’s no festivities, there’s no event,” he said.
When she enrolled in Temple, Nicole Meehan didn’t know what she wanted to study before randomly picking the advertising major in Klein and “falling in love” with it because it combined creativity with business. She looks forward to celebrating her journey at graduation with friends and family at Klein’s ceremony.
Meehan, a senior advertising major, will not attend the university commencement because it is long and she wants to celebrate her achievements in a more personal way with other Klein students, she said.
In-person graduation will give Meehan a greater sense of accomplishment because all the graduating seniors from Klein will be together, she said.
Bobby Miller is excited to walk at graduation but is still coming to terms with the fact that he won’t be a student anymore unless he enrolls in graduate school.
He plans to attend the Fox School of Business graduation because he wants to walk across the stage, something a few of his friends were unable to do because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s emergence in 2020, said Miller, a senior economics major.
He also plans on attending the university commencement even though it is early at 9:30 a.m, because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, he said.
Miller is glad his graduation will be in person because having a virtual ceremony in 2020 seemed disappointing, he said.
“There’s something about walking across the stage that validates all the four years,” he said.