Graduation tickets for my loved ones

A University of South Carolina graduate looks to his family during the school's commencement ceremony in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday, May 10, 2013. (Gerry Melendez/The State/MCT)

“I made it!”

After all the term papers, scantron finals and group presentations, I am finally getting my bachelor’s degree. Even though I was the one doing all the work, saying “I made it!” neglects all the other contributions people made along my five years of college.

Five long years of unconditional love and support, from a long list of close family members—which is way more than just seven people.

So how do I choose seven of these equally important family members and tell the rest they can’t go to my graduation, despite their contributions?

My grandparents and godparents put money in my account so my diet wouldn’t be limited to noodles. My parents paid my cell phone and health insurance so I would be physically and socially healthy.

Plus, the friends who provided me books or free tutoring to help me save money. Most of all, my younger brothers and sisters who provided motivation when balancing school and work became overwhelming. At ages seven thru twelve, being those four kids’ role models fueled my engine when it wanted to give up.

Not only do I come from a large extended Mexican family, but I have a modern family with two step parents and a step grandparent. So how do I choose seven family members and tell the rest they can’t go to my graduation, despite their contributions?

With almost 40,000 students attending CSUN and a few thousand graduating each year, I can not be the only one facing the difficult dilemma of limiting my family to only seven tickets for graduation. The extra ticket pool was supposed to help accommodate those wanting extra commencement tickets, but only one college actually had extra tickets to distribute.

For more evidence about ticket demand, simply ask a senior about how many of their friends and classmates text them regarding extra tickets.

Graduation is supposed to be an inspiration moment shared with those closest to you, yet I’ll be forced to tell my little brothers and sisters they can’t go. Seeing me walk across the stage is precisely the visual my siblings need as they embark on their own academic journeys. Because even if I’m not the first to graduate from my family, I don’t want to be the last. I remember seeing my own older cousins graduating, which gave me a picture for my own goal.

CSUN is a campus open to the community. Random People can use our library and green grass everyday, but graduation is an exclusive event? Who knows how many more life-time Matadors could be made with an open ceremony.

In an era where so many people have access to a higher education because of grants and scholarships, not all graduate. Hence, all the more reason for celebration of the select few who do make it across the finish line.

Listen, i understand the safety concerns of making graduation a free for all. I get that limiting it to seven tickets insures Jane’s grandparents can have a seat instead of John’s fraternity brothers.

But there has got to be a better way than only seven tickets. The earlier commencement proposal for the North Field would have been an easy way for students to secure a dozen tickets. Yet, who wants to sacrifice the Oviatt?

It is the place most students begin their journeys with Freshmen Convocation. The Oviatt is a flagship of the campus, one of which has been featured in movies.On our commuter-campus, It is one of the few places students actively engage at.

The truth is, there is no easy fix to our broken commencement. It is probably too late for my family to see me walk. However, students, administrators and staff need to creatively collaborate to create a more inclusive graduation ceremony for future students.

Maybe it means a Fall semester graduation, paying for tickets or breaking the college ceremonies into smaller groups. Either way, there has got to be a better way than me, and thousands of other students like me, telling their family not to share the pinnacle of their college experience.