For many AU students, graduation, convocation, isn’t quite the big deal it is for our counter-parts at traditional universities. Sure, it’s important. Just like any significant milestone in our life is important, but for many AU students, a graduation doesn’t mark a significant change in their life, rather it just means they now have the piece of paper to prove that they’ve been learning, and a schedule that has a little more free time after work. After all, many AU students are already ensconced safely in their careers and the degree is simply another check-box they can list when it comes time to decide who’s going to get that next promotion.
It can be easy for us to forget that for the vast majority of students out there, graduation is a life-changing event. It’s when students have to give up what has essentially been home, career, and social group for several years and head out into a world that has few restrictions and less guidance, other than the expectation that now, with their degree, they are expected to make something of themselves. It can be such an overwhelming experience that a fair number try to turn right back around to pursue a graduate degree.
I mention this because for those of us who are graduating, or near graduating, whether we go to convocation or not, to remember that, even if, for us, this is just another step in a plan made a long time ago, for many, many people it’s an event that will forever change their lives. Look on that piece of paper you’ve received and take a moment to marvel at that idea. It can be too easy for AU students to gloss over what this means. After all, the moment was reached one step at a time, between kids and work and chores. For many AU students, because we don’t have the traditional campus, the degree can become just another thing that we had to do each week. So it can be easy to slip that piece of paper into a file cabinet, with every intention of getting a frame for it and putting it up, eventually, but that time never seeming to arrive. If you’ve received your degree or certificate, take a look at it, and think about it not as marking the end of your studies, or as proof of what you learned, but think of it as a reminder of where you started. Remember what you were before you started this process, and take a look at how you’ve changed. You’ve been through a life changing event. Has it changed you?
Aside from that, this week in The Voice Magazine, our feature article is an interview with student Ryan Kiedrowski. A professional photographer, Ryan is just starting his own trip through AU, and he’s one of the few I’ve seen who unabashedly likes e-texts. Which means this whole thing will probably work out well for you, Ryan.
Our cover image is from Deanna Roney’s article, “Break a Leg” where she looks at parallels between her high-school education and post-secondary. After this article, I have to admit I’m a bit worried about what will happen to her if she decides to pursue a graduate degree. Also in this issue we have a great article from Carla Knipe about a topic that probably effects every one of us, but that we hardly ever think of?food waste.
Plus we take a quick look at AU’s new online, at-home exam service, run by ProctorU (I can never read that name without thinking about a white latex glove snapping on, for some reason) and, of course, our selection of news, reviews, interviews, advice, and just plain entertainment, all for you.
Enjoy the read!