I remember being five years old, curly-haired pigtails and a big cheesy smile on my face, looking out into the audience to see my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and even my baby sister smiling at me with pride.
Elementary and junior high were no exception. By this point my family had expanded and more eyes gazed at me with such happiness. Don’t even get me started on my high school graduation. No sooner had I walked off the stage a high school graduate that my family started raving about how emotional and exciting my college graduation would be.
Little did I know I would not be able to share this experience with my loved ones. And, quite frankly, I’m enraged.
For more than 10 years CSUN graduations have had no limits. Your dogs could attend for all anybody cared and nobody would say anything, and of course the year I am about to seal this momentous occasion, I am limited as to how many loved ones I can pick and choose to attend the ceremony.
As a first generation college graduate, it breaks me to pieces to have to select a few to join me while the rest of my family sits at home waiting for a text or phone call. What’s even more hurtful is that these people, the only ones who have been with me through thick and thin, good and bad, will not have the opportunity to even see me walk the stage.
Obviously, I’m not rich. I don’t have a fortune. The least I expected to give to my family was the invitation to my college graduation, and now that dream is out the window.
So there were 5,000 people standing during the last graduation ceremony. No one was hurt, and everyone was excited to spend time with their families and loved ones afterwards. I was one of those people standing for hours waiting anxiously for my best friend of 10 years to walk the stage, and I would do it all over again if I had to.
If they had to, I know my family would stand on a ledge with binoculars just to see me receive my diploma – a moment that will never come again. If students like me would have at least been warned about these changes sooner, we could have prepared our families and told them ahead of time that they’re not invited. It would have saved both pressure and heartbreak (well, not so much heartbreak).
The whole idea of only two parking tickets per student, and not having any more than two extra tickets per graduate, aside from our four tickets, is ridiculous. Let’s be realistic. It is highly unlikely that any graduate would give up their only four tickets. I know I wouldn’t. So the attempt at trying to make students feel a little better is a miserable fail.
Personally, if we as a university community have been able to go through so many years with crowded graduation ceremonies, why stop now? What is so different about 2014 that causes such a change? We’re all graduating and we all want our families to be there, whether we’re talking about 10 years ago or today.
What CSUN fails to realize is that students have the right to have their families at their side on what is bound to be one of the most important days of their lives. Don’t take this moment away from us.
Being the older sibling in my family, and one of the oldest cousins in my entire family of 30-plus members, my college graduation was meant to be something special and significant. Yes, it will still be significant, but that moment where I look into the crowd, wave my diploma in the air and mouth “thank you” to my dear sweet family is being diminished, and I have no way of getting that back.
That’s what breaks me. That’s what breaks many of us: to have gone through such a struggle in school, crashing courses, paying thousands of dollars, staying up late nights, studying countless hours, working endless hours a week and still not have the right to have all your closest loved ones take part on graduation is a low blow. Considering all of the fee increases, I would think CSUN would be grateful to its students for continuing their education path through this school by granting us all this simple plea to allow our families to be there with us, as they have always been.
My grandparents would always say, “If I don’t live long enough to see you get married, I hope I live to see the day you walk across the stage and receive your diploma.” Now the only thing left for me to do is tell my grandparents that they will not be in attendance for my college graduation.