Zach Donnenfield | Mustang News

Students who graduate in the fall have either taken an accelerated path to graduation or have opted to take an additional quarter to complete their courses. In either case, fall graduates encounter new experiences distinct from spring graduates

1. Every graduate has different plans.

Because of the variety of academic plans that led students to graduate in the fall, the diversity of after-college plans varies greatly as well. Some students may go straight into their field, but others may travel, begin internships or search for employment.

Cal Poly’s Assistant Director of Career Counseling and Education, Amie Hammond said graduating in the fall gives students more options.

“For students who would like to enroll in grad school, it gives them the opportunity to gain experience through volunteering, working part-time, or travel,” Hammond said.

Hammond also stressed that students headed towards a full-time career after graduation have the flexibility to search for jobs that undergraduates cannot apply for yet. This career flexibility allows students on either path to keep their options open and to acquire backgrounds in their field.

2. You may not be graduating with all of your friends.

As most students tend to graduate in the spring inline with their four- or five-year graduation timeline, many fall graduates do not walk across the stage with their friends. While it can be unfortunate that friends that have been together since Week of Welcome may not join together for graduation, their absence is only a minor factor.

Some students choose to delay their walk until spring quarter so they can stay in the area and walk with friends. Journalism senior Roya Forooghi is one student who is graduating two quarters early.

“I am not even walking in fall graduation, I postponed my walk to walk in Spring 2018 so I can walk with my friends,” Forooghi said.

3. Fall graduates may be able to save more money.

Having just come from a summer off, many students worked full-time jobs, allowing them to make more money before fall graduation. Graphic communication senior Mayra Mejía did not expect to take an extra quarter to graduate but her last summer allowed her to work a little more before entering the post-graduation world.

“I spent a majority of this past summer working full-time, saving money and began looking into potential job opportunities for after graduation,” Mejía said.

With a little extra time to work right before graduation, students may be able to travel and feel less pressure to secure a job right
after graduation.

4. You can enjoy one last summer in San Luis Obispo.

For most students, fall quarter feels like the start of the academic calendar. For fall graduates, it’s both a fresh return from summer and the end of their undergraduate career. Knowing it is their last summer before they must make bigger plans for their future, graduating students can take time to treasure their last summer in their unique college town.

“The best thing about graduating in the fall is that I got to enjoy another summer here in [San Luis Obispo]. I also had more time to focus on myself, my future goals and enjoy more of what this city has to offer,” Mejía said.

Whether graduating early or staying longer, students can truly appreciate the nostalgia living in San Luis Obispo as a Cal Poly student, maybe for the last time.

5. There is more time to prepare for continued education.

For students pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate after completing their bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly, fall graduation may delay their educational goals until they can apply for further education. For Mejía, this was exactly the case. Even so, she chose to make the most of it and stay positive.

“If I look at it in a positive light, it gives me the remainder of the year to prepare myself mentally for the master’s program and continue getting some work experience under my belt,” Mejía said.

Although fall graduation could potentially reschedule long term plans, it may make a student more prepared for their educational future by giving them more time to practice balancing responsibilities and planning their future.

6. Winter break comes one day later.

According to the Cal Poly Student Affairs website, fall commencement begins on Dec. 9.

Although the individual experiences of fall graduates may separate them from spring graduates, the joy and pride of graduation ceremonies is unchanged.

“San Luis Obispo as a whole has become my home. While I am really sad to be leaving, I feel like I have learned what I need to learn in order to move forward in my life, both professionally and personally,” Forooghi said.

No matter which quarter students decide to walk, when their time comes, they take the stage and walk proudly proudly across, diploma in hand.

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