Sitting at Kasteel Well during her senior year at Emerson, Mandi Hinrichs decided whether to attend her upcoming graduation. After calculating the costs of housing and hotel reservations for her parents, and considering the fact that many of her friends had already graduated, Hinrichs said she decided not to participate.
This year, graduation is scheduled for May 18 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. For seniors, it can be an expensive event—besides the cap and gown, some have to pay for airfare or other travel costs to get back to Emerson’s Boston campus. Others have to find temporary housing for commencement, which Emerson offers to graduating seniors for $90, plus a $60 security deposit. So while many forthcoming graduates choose to walk across the stage, some elect to skip the pomp and circumstance altogether.
Ashley Crocker, a senior studying at Emerson Los Angeles, said that she is not planning on partaking in this year’s commencement ceremony because of how much it would cost to get back from the West Coast.
“It also depends if your parents care,” said Crocker, a visual and media arts major. “ My parents don’t care. It’s going to cost us a lot of money. I just don’t have that opportunity right now.”
Jillian Preger DeFrehn, who graduated in 2004, chose not to walk at commencement because she finished her classes five months before the event and had already been working for months by then. She said she didn’t feel the need to formally celebrate the end of college when she had been gone for some time already.
“I don't regret [not walking], because Emerson helped me achieve what it was supposed to … a job in entertainment.” Preger DeFrehn wrote in a message to the Beacon.
“The ceremony, while important for some, was just a ceremony for me.”
Hinrichs, a 2014 graduate, also said she had no regrets about not walking at commencement.
“I was a transfer, so a lot of the friends I had graduated before I did,” said Hinrichs. “[Graduation] seemed like an added expense. It wasn’t going to be a huge deal for me. Looking back on high school, I barely remember graduation.”
Katie Rice, a 2014 graduate, was studying at ELA during her final semester, and she said getting back to Boston for graduation would have been too pricy, so she chose not to go. A year later, Rice said that she sometimes feels sad that she couldn’t have been there.
“I did regret it a little bit. It’s a huge mile mark,” said Rice. “ It would have been nice just to actually go and be there, and have an actual reminder instead of being like, ‘OK I graduated, I’m going to be an adult now.’”
Matt Jackson, an Emerson graduate student, said that he didn’t walk at his undergraduate commencement at Mercer College, because he felt that going to college was expected of him by his family and not a choice he made on his own. He also still had to take a summer class to finish, so commencement seemed pointless.
“I had been to family members’ graduations, and they were just very boring,” said Jackson.
However, Jackson does plan on walking in his Emerson graduation in May. He said he wants to walk because he is proud of himself for making it as far as he has.
“Grad school was something I actually wanted to do,” said Jackson. “I pursued it on my own. It’s more mine in a sense than my undergraduate commencement.”