Commencement 2011
(Photo by Lee Ferris, Mount Saint Mary College)

by Opeyemi Ifafore

Dear Class of 2015,

In 12 days, the class of 2014 will be tossing their caps, and you will officially be the senior class of Mount Saint Mary College. There is a huge task ahead of you, but you will get through it.

With great power comes great responsibility.

This isn’t to scare you. No. This is just a letter to guide you in having the best senior year possible because it’s already here.

As seniors, your workload won’t be as heavy, but no matter what your major is, you will have to stay on top of it.

During your senior year, you may find it very easy to be complacent. After all, you’ve taken most of your required courses in the past three years, so you barely have any now. You think you have all the time in the world, but you don’t. Don’t let senioritis consume you.

Make sure you stay motivated. What makes you stay on top of your work? Whatever it may be, keep it as a constant reminder.

“My parents were my biggest motivators,” said senior pyschology major Daryl Collymore. When Collymore was behind on credits, he kept in mind that he promised his parents he would graduate on time. He also wanted to graduate with the friends he started this journey with.

“Stay on top of your work,” Collymore said. Don’t let senioritis deviate you from your goal.

I know what you’re thinking: “But the semester hasn’t started, I don’t need to worry about this yet.” But time management and preparedness has never been more important. You will be bombarded with projects here and there, and you have to be ready for them.

Also, the sooner you check in with registrar on your academic standing, the better.

“Make sure you are actually graduating on time,” said senior Stat Willard. “Visit the registrar office early on in the year and make sure you have everything in on time.”

There’s nothing worse than receiving the intent to graduate email that reads, “You will not be graduating this year because you don’t have enough credits.”

Don’t let that be you.

Now, this is not all about being serious. The Class of 2014 also wants to remind you to have fun. After all, this is your last year.

This is the last year to make lasting memories with the people you’ve spent the past three years with. This is the last year to try things you’ve been pushing off to the last minute. This is the last year to take a class you were curious about.

“I definitely have to run on the Newburgh- Beacon Bridge before graduation,” Collymore said.

Collymore said this is the time to spend time with friends. After commencement, everyone will begin a new chapter in their lives, one that doesn’t always allow the freedom of seeing your friends when you want or going out as often as you want to.

Your final year is also a time to clean up bad habits and make good decisions about friends and your future.

“Go through your friends list and see who is worth holding on to,” Willand said.

Unfortunately, not everyone will be lifetime friends. Make sure you keep in contact with those who will only make you better. You’ll soon learn that some friends won’t be there for graduation, but it’s sometimes for the best. You will also learn to make new friends, who you will grow with beyond graduation.

Willand said it’s important to toughen up your senior year because the real world isn’t so generous.

Take advantage of the opportunities provided to you during your last year. Senior year will be filled with senior theses, and it’s your time to show off what you have learned in the past three years. It will test your skills and hopefully build your the confidence.

“Be your own advocate because no one will do it for you,” Willand said.

As much as it all comes down to you and what you can accomplish, remember that you will need as much help as possible to get there.

“If you haven’t done so already, get affiliated with your professors immediately,” Collymore said. “It’s never too late.”

Initially, Collymore didn’t take the advising period seriously, but he later found his professors were a big help to him. They are the resources freely available to you, so use them.

Don’t forget there are many people willing to help you succeed. Apart from professors, you have the Career Center. Need an internship to boost your résumé or to improve your interview skills? The Career Center provides help to you for becoming a better candidate and person in general.

Don’t forget about giving back. In your three years at MSMC, it has been constantly stressed: give your time to others. The Campus Ministry is a great place to start; they provide various volunteer opportunities for people searching.

This is your last year. Take full advantage of it and be involved. Before you know it, you will be tossing your caps in the air, and the last thing you’ll want to say is, “I wish I had done…”


Best regards,

The Class of 2014