Opening convocation brings seniors’ fears to light

By Olivia Lewis

The official welcome Sunday to the new school year has seniors around Hampton University thinking about their soon-to-be goodbyes to their Home by the Sea.

Opening convocation is supposed to be a joyous occasion for seniors sitting in Ogden Hall as they reflect on their time at Hampton and dream about what may come after graduation. However, the surreal feeling of wearing a cap and gown for the first time has some seniors nervous and panicking about life after Hampton University.

Carmen Hamlett, a political science major from Charlotte, N.C., has already accepted an offer to work for Hargrove Incorporations, an event planning company that focuses on large-scale government and political events, after graduation. Pleased with the opportunity she has been given, Hamlett said she is still anxious about her future and doesn’t find herself better off than any other senior:

“I really don’t because honestly anything can happen from now until graduation, and honestly life changes and you have to roll with the punches. Nothing is really guaranteed, so no I don’t think I’m any better off than someone who’s not sure what they want to do in life.”

The too-good-to-be-true lifestyle at Hampton University has served as a cushion for Hamlett during her four years in Virginia, and she admitted she was fully aware of the bubble she has been living in.

“I’m extremely nervous about graduating and going into the real world because Hampton is so comfortable,” said Hamlett.

Rhia McKissic, a political science major, biology minor from Baltimore, has also fallen head-first into the lofty Hampton bubble during her four years.

“I’ll miss the leniency with everything,” MsKissic said. “I mean I have to do my work, I have my deadlines, but I could just as easily go talk to one of my teachers and they’ll stretch something.”

Apprehensively looking into the future, McKissic had a few reasons for her uneasiness of the transition to post-grad life.

“I’m a little concerned, taking into consideration, the direction we’re going in right now,” said McKissic. We’re about to have this big election and it affects me one way or another.”

Aware of the government policies that could potentially increase or decrease the amount of money she will owe in student loans after graduation, McKissic said her best alternatives are to apply to a wide range of opportunities.

Like Hamlett, McKissic knows anything can happen between now and May.

“I’m giving myself a lot of options,” McKissic said. “I’m applying for Teach for America, I’m applying for a lot of post-grad programs, masters programs, Ph.D. programs; so I’m just giving myself a whole lot of options.”

Tyrone Stamps, an accounting major from Newark, N.J. is also inquiring about different possibilities and admitted to the same uneasy feelings towards graduation, but said the feeling is a necessary part of the process for all seniors.

“You’re going to be nervous when going to the next step,” Stamps said. “I mean there’s always that chance that your plans may not go as planned. But if you are prepared somewhat, you won’t be 100 percent nervous to take that next step.”

While some members of Hampton University’s Class of 2013 has acknowledged its fears of the after-life, a number of them took a moment with a bittersweet look on their face to remember the things that meant the most while attending Hampton University.

“I’ll miss having the accessibility to so many talented people in all different areas,” said Hamlett. “Like planning the {Mr. Pirate} pageant this year; I could pull someone who was a Terp to help choreograph something, someone who was a business major to help with sales, or a graphic design major to make tickets. You’re not going to have so many talented and intellectual African-Americans around you all the time; that’s not real life.

“That’s Hampton and that’s what I’m going to miss the most.”

The writer – a senior – is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications