By Aubrey McDonnell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Students preparing to graduate this week not only have to worry about finishing up and doing well on their finals, they also have to plan what to wear to the big event, what to do afterward, and what to do with parents who have come to town.
Michael Valenzuela, a political science senior, said the path to graduation has been a fun one.
"I've had some really good times in college," Valenzuela said. "But I'm glad that I'm done with taking worthless classes. It will be nice to focus on different things now."
Valenzuela's family plans to attend his graduation on Friday and then throw him a graduation party in Phoenix later this month.
"My dad had to take off work to come down here, but that's the biggest hassle we've had to deal with," Valenzuela said. "I'm really glad my family will be here for the graduation."
Having a student who is graduating from college is a big deal for many families, but for Steve Filoso, a political science senior, graduation will mark a big "first" for his family.
"I am the first one in my family to graduate from college," Filoso said. "I have family flying in from New York and Florida to come see me graduate. They are all very excited and happy to come out to see me."
That graduation has crept up so soon is surreal for many students.
Katie Copeskey, a psychology senior, said she is still focusing on school, even with graduation just over the horizon.
"I don't think it will hit me that I'm actually graduating until I put on the cap and gown," Copeskey said. "As of right now, I'm not preparing too much for graduation day."
Copeskey said she has not spent a lot of time planning what to wear underneath her graduation gown.
"I'll probably wear a dress with heels because my family and I will be going out to dinner after the ceremony," Copeskey said. "I will not be loading up on tortillas, though, because I think it's immature."
Valenzuela and Filoso said they did not spend much time planning what to wear underneath their graduation gowns either.
Valenzuela said he plans to wear slacks and a button-up shirt, while Filoso said he will be wearing regular clothes, plus a little something extra.
"I will definitely be stocking up on tortillas for the event," Filoso said. "It's tradition."
After graduation, Tucson will be party central as many students hold "house-leaving parties" and other graduation events.
"My roommates and I are moving out of the house, so we're going to have a party after graduation," Valenzuela said. "We have a bar in the house that we built, so we are going to fill it up and just chill."
Filoso said he plans to take it easy after graduation.
"I am excited about the fact that I don't have to wake up for 8 a.m. classes anymore; I'm just going to take the week off to relax after I graduate," Filoso said.
Copeskey said graduating has a bittersweet feeling because she will miss so many things about the campus.
"I have made great friends and met great professors and mentors along the way," Copeskey said. "I'm going to miss them all."
Filoso said saying goodbye to friends who are moving away to start new lives will be very hard.
"I'm going to miss all of the friends that I've made here and all the experiences I've had on this campus," Filoso said. "It will be hard to have a life without it."
The most rewarding part of graduation will be the knowledge that you have worked hard to finish your degree, Copeskey said.
"I am very proud of myself for finishing in four years," Copeskey said. "I am very excited about the future, but at the same time I will miss the comfort of the campus. It's hard to say goodbye."