Mixed Feelings about Ferris Graduation

Photo by: Sienna Parmalee | Production Assistant

For seniors graduating this spring semester, mixed feelings are in the air as preparations for graduation begin.

With Ferris’ mask mandate being lifted and things returning to normal, graduation is set to be a lot more like earlier years. With this in mind, seniors are reflecting on their time at Ferris.

Trey Laven, an information security and intelligence senior who is graduating in the spring, feels that his experience at Ferris was cut short as a result of the pandemic and also some poor experiences in some classes. However, he feels with graduation coming soon as the weather changes and with COVID starting to become more of a memory than a reality, the prospect of being done is still surreal.

“I’ve been looking forward to being finished with school for quite a few years now, but the reality is overwhelming,” Laven said. “Even through all of this, I was still able to hold my ground, [and I] am happy that I’ll be graduating.”

However, Laven’s opinion on his time at Ferris State is less than enthusiastic when it comes to discussing the years after COVID-19. With many of his classes going online, a lack of socialization with friends and teachers struggling to keep up with the new format of school, Laven found his time to be less than ideal and that the whole package of college had a sour note.

“I believe that my college experience was mostly ruined by the pandemic,” Laven said. “I wish I could have experienced college in its fullness, but I made do with what I was given and tried my best to enjoy what I could.”

While Laven is graduating on time, there are others who will find themselves walking but not graduating until the summer semester is over. Senior Katie Bittner feels, much like Laven, that the experience of being in school was somewhat hampered. She also felt that walking was kind of pointless regardless, of her classes being complete.

“I don’t want to walk…” said Bittner. “I am glad that students are able to have a ceremony this year. I know a lot of my friends were bummed that they couldn’t walk.”

Much like Laven, Bittner had some important takeaways form her time at Ferris, one regarding the social aspect. With both busy work and a pandemic taking over much of that aspect of students’ lives, the precious time spent with people and friends became important for her.

“From freshman year to senior year, I have learned how important it is to get involved and meet as many people as possible,” Bittner said. “I met my best friends at Ferris.”

Bittner plans to move forward into the Disney College program after graduation. Those who are graduating in the near future, such as KCAD senior Emily Gudzinski, feel that while the prospect of being out of Big Rapids is exciting, there is still some frustration left over from how the years have went and the struggles that came as a result.

“I struggle with my own personal learning disabilities from ADHD, and online clases made learning the information I was being taught harder, which made me perform worse than I would’ve liked,” Gudzinski said.

Gudzinki maintains a positive outlook for her future graduation, and the way Ferris is handling the upcoming one makes her think that things are finally looking up for campus and for future students, even if there is still some regrets from those who are leaving this year. While reflecting on the time she has spent here, she felt there were two major takeaways that came from all of this.

“I feel like I’m with everyone when they say they’re experiencing their ‘midlife crisis’ because there is to much to come when it comes to looking for jobs, paying off debt and having an overall ability to support myself in the real world,” Gudzinski said. “My closing thoughts, however, are refreshing. I’m looking forward to my own hopeful success from going through college and having the whole experience.”