Why I’m not walking: a senior perspective on graduation

By Chris Karenbauer

Graduation is the moment seniors look forward to the most because it’s the next step into the adult world. It is also one of the most uniform, rehearsed events of our college career. Every commencement is the same. Someone speaks for 30 minutes. Every graduate, no matter how many of them there are, gets recognized. More speaking. A prayer. It goes on.

And this is why I, and many other seniors at Cedarville University, decided not to walk for graduation.

At best, a ceremony takes an hour and a half. That is still 90 minutes of me sitting awkwardly in an uncomfortable chair as I listen to someone, whom I have never met, talk about how proud they are of us for graduating.

For people with older siblings, we’ve already attended more graduation ceremonies than we care to count.

“I’ve been to my older siblings’ graduation, and they were really boring,” said senior International Studies major Grace Hickey. “I just don’t care enough to go to mine.”

But college isn’t the only time we get to graduate. 

In my experience, a high school graduation is the same ordeal as is in college, just with a bunch of 18-year-olds ready to tackle college rather than a bunch of 22-year-olds hesitantly entering the world.

Additionally, I remember counting down the minutes when my high school graduation was done so I could get out of there and eat some ice cream with my friends. I am willing to bet that my college graduation wouldn’t be much different, except I come out of it with a bachelor’s degree rather than a high school diploma.

Whether I walk for graduation or not even show up, I still get my degree. Cedarville University just needs to send my diploma in the mail rather, and I will be satisfied.

Hickey feels differently. She, and other seniors who choose not to walk, will not attend the ceremony but show up at the end of the day.

“I’ll still take pictures with all my friends,” Hickey said. “I just don’t want to walk.”

Another factor in my decision and I’m sure many seniors who choose not to walk, is that I just want to go home. Finals week takes a toll on all of us. On top of that, we need to apply for jobs. As someone who doesn’t know what she’s doing after graduation because no one’s hired me yet, I need to look for a job to use the degree I have worked for the last four years.

My focus is finding a job after I graduate, not sitting for a ceremony that I don’t want to be at in the first place.

Some people tell me that I would regret not walking for graduation, but I regret walking for my high school graduation because I could’ve spent my time doing something I would enjoy. Even my mother, who is a Cedarville alumnus, told me, “In 45 years, you won’t care if you walked or not.”

It may be too late to back out, but seniors, don’t feel pressured to walk for graduation. You would still get your diploma and degree. You could still take pictures with your friends to remember your accomplishments. You just wouldn’t need to sit in the Doden Field House for an hour and a half wishing you were somewhere else.

Chris Karenbauer is a senior Journalism major and the Editor-in-Chief for Cedars. She enjoys reading and writing, hanging out with friends and listening to music.

1 Reply to "Why I’m not walking: a senior perspective on graduation"

  • comment-avatar
    Mike B December 12, 2023 (10:12 pm)

    Hi everyone. I do not attend Cedars, but wanted to contribute to the discussion. I will not be attending the graduation ceremony at my college. I’ve gone through the walking across the stage thing three times in the past: Once for high school, once for a trade school to which I was attending while in high school, and a third time back in 2005 when I graduated from my original program, which was Liberal Arts and I do not wish to do so again. I am not interested in sitting around in an overcrowded auditorium with a bunch of strangers while some bigshot professional drones on and on with a speech to which I couldn’t care less about, just so I can walk across a public stage in front of the entire world on camera wearing that stupid uniform they make us students wear just to acknowledge that we’ve been successful. Yes, our school’s graduations are video tapped for later brodcast on one of our local TV stations. The whole thing is really for the benefit of the big shots, not us.