Student Voice

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May 20, 2024

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As one journey ends, another begins

December 14, 2006

Another semester is winding down at UW-River Falls. While some students are cramming for finals, others are too excited for Christmas and J-term to care about their grades, and still others are getting ready to take the next step in their lives: graduate.

Now is a time for reflection, self-discovery and new beginnings.

“Every day, without fail, I would be surprised by something,” graduating senior Kelly Aherns said, reflecting on what she will miss most at UWRF. “Yes, this occurred in the classroom, but more importantly in the halls, in the library and on the way out of buildings.”

On Saturday, 230 UWRF seniors will put on their caps, gowns and tassels to walk across the stage and start a new chapter in the book of life. Commencement begins at 2 p.m. and is expected to last about two hours.

“I’m not leaving and might stay here next year to work year round, but I am going to miss all of my friends that aren’t going to be here anymore,” graduating senior Anna Banti said.

While graduates may be ready to give up attending classes and doing homework, many find it difficult to imagine life without the friends they’ve made while here at UWRF.

“I’m going to miss my job at Luigi’s Pizza and all of the good times that I had with the people on campus,” graduating senior Dan Lynum said. “I really enjoyed the nights out on the town. I’ve been to other college bars, but nothing beats a $4 long island at Zero on a Wednesday night.”

Graduating senior Laura Aamodt said her entire freshman year at UWRF stands out as her favorite memory.

“There is one class in particular that I will never forget,” she said. “There were only seven of us, and one of the best professors ever.”

Distinguished teacher Nate Splett of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences will deliver the commencement address during Saturday’s graduation ceremony, and Regent Vice President Mark Bradley will congratulate the graduates on behalf of the Board of Regents.

A couple hours before graduation, students and their friends and family have the option of attending a senior brunch at Brandy’s in the Student Center. The brunch goes from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and tickets are $13.50 for adults, while a meal for kids 10 and younger costs $7. The brunch includes omelets, desserts, drinks and casseroles, among others.

After graduation, students who partake in fall commencement can expect to receive their diplomas by mid-March or early April. By then, many of the graduates will have already started new careers, while others will be taking it easy. Whatever road they choose to take, UWRF alum and psychology professor Richard Seefeldt said he believes the University does a good job of preparing students for what lies ahead of them.

“I feel like River Falls prepared me for grad school and whatever endeavors that I wanted to take on academically,” Seefelt said. “I never felt like I got cheated out of any education.”

He also said he believes UWRF does a much better job of teaching students about diversity than it did when he was a student, and students today have a wide variety of options to study abroad, learn about diversity and think critically about the world.

Aherns agrees.

“I feel like I’ve been taught to think differently,” she said. “As we can often see, all the knowledge in the world is nothing without the ability to think for oneself.”

Graduation is arguably the biggest day in a college student’s career, and it takes a lot of effort, determination and work to stay motivated and be able to walk across the stage.

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