Perpetual Learner- The adventure of going back to school

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Woes of Graduation Day

Sometimes I have a tendency to say just the facts and it may sound harsh to others, so.. In light of that I have revised this post. 

Was our group disorganized?  I am not sure if it was our group or the system at Goddard. Lets face it, often times communication and understanding the process does not come easily with this program, thus the reason for the blog.

Here is what happened-

I posted earlier on this blog that we received an e-mail from administration a couple weeks prior to residency asking us if we had everything ready and thought out for our graduation program.

My immediate response was-
What do we need to have ready?
Who are the graduates?

 I requested a list of names a couple of times and offered to take charge of things, if I could get a list.
I'm really not sure why it is so hard to get information like this. I a m sure it must be because of some privacy thing.  However, it would be nice to be able to have group communication as graduates. 

Then I received an e-mail from an advisor saying he was put in charge of the graduating group. I don't know if this is normal or not.  I figured it was protocol, so I backed off.  I was relieved that we had help and figured things were going to get taken care of. Though I must admit, I was feeling less enthusiastic about graduation, and glad that it was being taken care of as a group effort and let go. 

The e-mails that were coming in did not appear to have everyone included. I mean we were 30 coming in and I think the group that was being mailed to was only 14 students .  When it was questioned, we were asked to be sensitive to the idea that some might not be graduating.  I understand this and posted about it in an earlier post. It is a sensitive issue, and even more so, because I came so close to being one of those who could not make it through a semester with life on my heels. I just feel like we could have somehow gotten more cohesion, and I feel bad that some were left out.

They never received our e-mails. In these e-mails we discussed and voted on:
 1. Rick was our speaker,
2. We would ask Jason and Ben to play
3. Jackie would be the MC.
4. Our reception would be after our graduation - this somehow got mixed up as it was before.For those coming up after us, I don't know if this is just tradition and not possible to have after or if the schedule was not malleable. 

We voted on other things, for example, having a slide show of images that people could look at as they came in, but we could not get ourselves together enough to put this into action.  ( FYI if another class wants to do this I would suggest beginning to request these things in G4. The thought was to have images of our time at Goddard and our work.)

As I understood it, these were our only duties as a graduating class.  NOT!  I was totally mistaken but did not find this out until much later.

I should also point out that everyone get an e-mail from administration saying that we could no longer bring food or beverages to Goddard for events. That this would be provided by the campus at a charge.  WHAT?  I was very startled by this change of events happening at the last minute and a crucial time for us as we are packing.  There was no instruction in this e mail as to how we go about this. We got this notification just a couple of weeks before graduation?  I think, o.k. that means they have everything under control. NOT! After all if the school says "they" are hiring these people I would assume that things are all taken care of. I was mistaken, but again did not find this out until later. 

The bar that was supposed to be at our "meet and greet" the first night did not "show up" on that evening. I overheard someone say this would not happen for the other events, which I assumed would be Graduation and Cabaret.  WRONG! I should know better to go by hearsay, but honestly if you don't know you are supposed to take care of something it is very difficult to make those plans. As you will see things were not ordered and we did not know we were supposed to order them- At least for graduation I don't know about cabaret as graduates leave on Sunday.

I thought just for the heck of it I would go to the help desk at lunch on graduation day and ask, "Who takes care of the food and drinks for the reception?" I was at that moment told that it was the graduating classes responsibility and to talk to Jackie.  Thank God that Claudia heard this conversation and offered to help if we needed assistance.  I went to Jackie. Unfortunately I must have interrupted a meeting and she said, "let me get back to you."  I put it out of my head, only to discover at about 1:00 on graduation day that we were indeed responsible for food, and on top of that, no one actually asked the musicians to play.  So I spent the next hour trying to be sure that both of these things were taken care of.  I did not mind, but I sure wish that these things would have somehow been made known to us before hand.  Most of the people that know me, know I don't really like surprises and try to come prepared and do everything I can to help anyone to make things run smoothly. We were definitely not organized.   Thank you Claudia for your help.  Jackie picked up the tab, but I don't know if this is the schools responsibility or the graduating classes.  Someone should question this in the future. Perhaps find out these details before hand. Our class was amiss for not asking such questions.  I was so appalled by all of this that I also asked the help desk, "Are we responsible for the program as well?"  We were not. Which was good because one more thing I could not add to my plate. I was still not sure who was graduating and trying to get those details might have taken a long time. 

I did find the musicians, one declined, two accepted. I remember shouting to them across the room over the last few days- "so you playing for graduation? " The reply was, "I had heard rumors", but no one actually asked them.  I guess our group had so many things on their mind before graduation, like getting their presentations together, and making arrangements for family. We certainly dropped the ball there.  Thank you so much Ben and Jason for improvising and doing this.  They had about 20 minutes to go back to their dorm, get their instruments set up and play( mics were not ready) . I'm so impressed how everyone pitched in to make it work.  And in the long run it was a great night, and came together.  I hope this documentary of the process doesn't offend anyone, but simply shows what is needed, and how surprises can happen when you don't know the process. 

FYI Here is a tidbit that the next group can put into their knowledge base. Jackie asked if musicians could be to the Hay Barn 1/2 hour before graduation and play for the 15 minutes prior to graduation. They should set up to the left of the stage against the wall. A note for future graduates.

Well, we did it. Thanks for everyone for their assistance.  Can someone please print the graduation expectations up and be sure that they get to future graduates?  I just hope this blog post will help others who are about to graduate.  Also see my post about my idea about the  graduating class.  Graduates are so busy seeing all of their classmates presentations, setting up for their own, getting their paper work completed, picking up relatives from the airport  and tending to family that it makes it extremely hard to do all of the above.  I think my idea is an idea that might be considered. I really love the class that came before me. It would have delighted me to honor them and help them with their graduation day. I don't think I realized how much they meant to me, until that residency. 
Of course, residency is difficult and time consuming for everyone.  It is just a suggestion and I do hope that if my idea is not taken that this post somehow lets others know how to be more prepared.  Perhaps it is revised, and there is a committee or small group of students, like the Welcoming committee that would like to take on this task to honor those going out.  

Good luck to all of the up- and coming graduates. I hope this helps.

We did have a meeting as a graduating class in our prior residency.  Communication during the semester would have been key, however the semester is a grueling one, and indeed some students for whatever reason do not make it through the semester to graduate.  Some groups coming into Goddard bond more than others. Maybe this and continuous communication is the key.  Suggestion- Vote on these things at your last full residency.  Stay in contact through the semester as much as possible.  Get a list of students graduating, but note that some may come into your group that you might not know.

All in all, it was a great day, and if you read this blog you will see that I am actually in a daze that I even made it to that day.  With the death of dad, and trying to take care of that on top of this huge difficult commission and client, and writing a portfolio, I'm amazed I was sitting in the seat and had the opportunity to help.  My personality is someone who will try to fill in the gaps and help whenever possible. Again, I didn't mind it, I just wish I would have had a check list.  So, for the sake of up-and-coming graduates. 

Here is a simple check list. 

In your G5 full residency
Get a mailing list together of potential graduates- know that some others may be added to this list
Talk about
1. MC
2. Speaker
3. Music
4. Any things you want to have shown or other elements of graduation ie, showing slides, graduation catalogue, reception, art show, group photograph etc. 
5. Perhaps set up a date to get back in touch or a way to stay in contact
  ( be sensitive that this last semester is grueling and if life happens, like it did with me, some might not be as lucky as I was to pull it together and get to graduation. I can only imagine how that would feel, on top of a difficult semester.  I am glad I got to be there with my group and say goodbye.) 
6. Is there and advisor who will be helping you with graduation plans?  Perhaps this would be a good time to have them in on things. So they can walk you through it, or know your plans in the end to see if anything is missing. 
7. Who is getting the things for the reception, what is allowed according to the guidelines of Goddard and how is it going to be paid for? As mentioned above, I still don't know if the group is actually responsible for the cost of a reception.  
8. Designate who is going to ask and confirm the above. 

In your returning residency
Designate someone to confirm all of the above,
Check with front desk to see if proper microphones, projection or whatever are available 
Rejoice in the accomplishments and even though you are exhausted and elated about handing in that portfolio and feel you need a serious nap after doing your presentation, breath.... because you have made it. 


  • I hope this post helps and did not sound like I was complaining. I seriously meant it to help up and coming graduating classes. I was glad to help in anyway that I could. I just wish that there was some guidelines posted somewhere as to what should be expected of the graduating class during this residency.

    By Blogger isculpt, at 8:24 PM  

  • I think you are a saint for documenting all of this.

    By Blogger riva, at 10:44 AM  

  • Thanks Riva. I can't believe the fall out from this post. It was horrible and really tainted my experience at Goddard. I'm so glad someone appreciates what I was trying to do. I do hope it helps the future classes.

    By Blogger isculpt, at 1:20 PM  

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