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Grad Fair stirs excitement in seniors before commencement

By Melanie Mann
On October 22, 2013

As graduating seniors prepare to order their caps and gowns, a motley assortment of emotions charge the atmosphere: joy, pride and fear for the future. However, one universal feeling Grad Fair brings to students is the realization they have finally made it through college.
Grad Fair was held Wednesday, Oct. 16 and Thursday, Oct. 17 in the Alumni Center as a means of providing resources to students preparing to graduate.
"It's a fun event," said Denise Plessala, regional manager for Balfour. "Everybody's so excited. If they're here, that means they're almost finished. Everybody's in a really good mood when they're here."
Grad Fair offers a variety of services to students, including everything from financial aid exit interviews to a resume writing workshop to cap and gown pictures.
"Anything that they have to do for graduation takes place here, so it's kind of a one stop shop so they don't have to go to the different departments around campus," said Plessala.
Among the crowd of graduating students was Lydell Johnson, a senior marketing major, and his mother Ivy Johnson, who was beaming with pride as she watched her son being photographed in his cap and gown.
"I had my fun times," said Johnson. "I had my times where it was tougher. I made it through. It was a journey. I can say that much."
Johnson began his time at Southeastern in 2006. Though he began his college career as a biology major, he now looks forward to getting his degree in marketing this semester. In his time at Southeastern, Johnson performed in plays and was actively involved in the Student Government Association. He plans to obtain a job in sales and pursue graduate school for a degree in management.
"I'm very excited," said Ivy Johnson, his mother. "I'm so excited, I could just scream. It's an accomplishment, and I think he's done well, so we're very excited and proud."
Though Grad Fair serves an efficient purpose, many seniors also view their time at Grad Fair as a symbolic "finish line" that they must cross to earn their degree, creating an emotionally charged atmosphere.
"I feel very good," said Angela Morgan, a senior majoring in psychology. "I felt like I was graduating today. Before, it was just like a never ending tunnel. Today, I'm starting to see some light at the end of it."
Morgan began as a kinesiology major, but fell in love with psychology after taking a class as an elective. Now, she hopes to pursue a master's in psychology so that she can work in a hospital setting.
Morgan offered a word of advice for students struggling through college:
"Stay in school, everybody, because the finish line feels great."

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