Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
Seniors often stare at their degree plan for hours and never experience an epiphany about the future. No magic light bulb goes off when a certain number of courses are crossed off the list, and no genie pops out of a magic career lamp with the touch of a college degree. Though it would be wonderful to have three wishes or a free pass to a dream job, the real world provides countless obstacles.
Higher education has so many challenges of its own. Jumping through the final few logistic hoops should be the easiest part of growing up, in theory. But like most theories, exceptions exist.
Most college seniors have learned responsibility by this point in their lives, but knowing which steps to take before making the leap into adulthood can be complicated. Students deserve some help from the school they invested so much time and money in.
It is up to the student to seek help via the online course catalog or a source in the department of their confusion. Navigating the new paperless catalog is an adventure of its own, but finding the right person for each concern poses an even bigger task.
On the plus side, hopping between the registrar, bursar and financial aid on a weekly basis provides a nice workout for seniors.
Advisers have their place in the system, offering wisdom and logistic direction about which classes and requirements each individual student necessitates. The problem occurs when a student declares a major and minor in opposite fields of study often, often leaving them clueless on one of the two directions.
The registrar does, however, offer a four-year plan for every field of study. If freshmen start filling this form out from the beginning, the process can run smoothly.
Some juniors receive emails alerting them their accumulated hours have classified them as a senior sooner than they expected. Students need to keep up with their hours, counting them and keeping a tally every semester.
Unless surprised seniors already declared early graduation, their graduation date won’t reflect their hours. Again, it is up to the student to figure this out, manually count the number of credits he or she has completed, and then request an earlier date.
One of the last hurdles to jump over lies in the audit process, which happens only one semester before donning a cap and gown. Seniors must know which classes they need to enroll in for their last semester, but they must wait on the official count to be sure everything lines up. This could just be God’s way of teaching patience.
Because of the complications surrounding graduation, the “What are you doing when you graduate?” question makes seniors cringe. Most just want to finish the “What do you need to do in order to graduate?” part of the equation first.
To all underclassmen, you are an adult now. Your steps toward graduation are exactly that: Yours. Print out the degree plan the registrar emails you when you declare your major and minor. Then physically keep up with your hours and think ahead.
If you do these things, you can ask the right questions and receive respect from the authority that has the answers. Good luck, seniors.