Here we are, the first day of June and convocation is just around the corner. For all those who’ve successfully completed your program, congratulations. Many of us find it to be a bit of an adjustment when we have to drop the word “student” from how we think about ourselves.
But of course, this isn’t something that just happens at convocation. The celebration brings our attention to it, but at AU, every month brings that adjustment to some students, and unlike other universities, we often find we’re doing it alone.
That’s why it’s great to read a story like the one presented by Barb Lehtiniemi in this week’s issue, where she finds that she’s not as alone as she thought. It can be helpful to remember that, even if we’re the only AU student we know, that doesn’t mean that others aren’t aware of what we’re doing and rooting for us to succeed.
On the flip side, Deanna Roney looks at those people around us who, watching us seek an education at AU, wonder when we’ll join the “real world”. I’m sure you’ve heard it from someone when you’ve told them you’re taking courses at a distance, or even just seen “the look”, the one that says “How nice for you to not have to be serious about anything,” but where does that come from?
And this brings us back to AU’s Convocation Ceremonies. Even though students are graduating all the time, and even though most of the graduations from AU pass entirely unremarked in the public eye (side note: would it really be so hard for AU to run a crawler of all the names who’ve graduated over the past 12 months at the bottom of the convocation broadcast?) the convocation ceremony is one of the ways that AU tries to create that feeling of a “real world” graduation. Not so much for us—we know what it takes to reach that stage—but more for those around us. To give us something to point to and say, “Look, this is real, see?”
But, if Deanna’s right in her article, then maybe as more people take up distance and online education, the need for convocation ceremonies as evidence of the realness of our education will diminish. With luck, that won’t lead to the ceremonies themselves being diminished, as, needed or not, when you as an AU student watch someone walk across the stage, when you hear their short bio, it can re-energize your enthusiasm for your studies. Hearing how people from all walks of life, with all sorts of different challenges, have managed to overcome those challenges and complete a major goal of their life by going to the exact same place you do is inspiring and connecting. Convocation cometh. It cometh for us all, if we’re willing to work for it.
But also this week, our feature article is a continuation of the series of Minds We Meet with the new AUSU Council. Up this week, The Voice Magazine’s own Brittany Daigle. Brittany, who currently writes our Course Exam column (probably our most popular regular feature here in The Voice Magazine) has been interviewed before, but that was before she was on Council, so this time, we take a look at what brought her to AU and Council and what she hopes to accomplish while here. Plus, of course, we have a selection of news, reviews, advice, events, scholarships, and other articles to keep you connected to your fellow students in a different way than convocation. Enjoy the read!