December commencement draws near

On Dec. 15, 76 Eastern seniors will say their final goodbyes to their undergraduate years. The fall commencement ceremony, featuring speaker Dr. Stephen E. Markwoo, will be held in Eastern’s gymnasium.

Dr. Markwood, who is the President of Alderson-Broaddus College, has close connections with Eastern. His campus heads a fall study abroad program in Europe where students are taught foreign languages and are immersed in European history throughout the trip.

While none of the students graduating in December attended this study abroad program, Eastern President Dr. ?David Black still expects Dr. Markwood’s words to be meaningful to all the students graduating. “Dr. Markwood is a bright, thoughtful and good [man]…whose worldview is reflective of the community of Eastern,” Black said.

One of the student speakers, chosen by the entire Student Development Staff, is youth ministry major Christopher Low.

Though it will be a much smaller ceremony than the one held in May, Low is thrilled to have the opportunity to speak to his fellow classmates. “I felt honored,” Low said when asked about his initial response at being picked by Student Development. “But, then comes the stress! [I began] wondering if [I] really have anything important enough to say in front of everyone,” Low said.

There is a common misconception that students who graduate in December are super seniors, students who graduate after already spending eight undergrad semesters. But this is not the case for Low and fellow graduate Megan Janczyk. Both students chose to graduate early. Low chose to graduate in December to get a jumpstart on his career.

For some students, such as Janczyk, the idea of not paying college tuition for an additional semester is enough motivation for early commencement. “I decided to graduate early because I could,” Janczyk said. “At the time I felt like it was a wise decision and would allow me to save some money as well as provide me with a semester off.”

Whatever the reason for the early graduation, the upcoming commencement will no doubt be a time for reflection, thanksgiving and stressful steps into the upcoming future.

Fellow student commencement speaker Alecia Fields, who is a management major, sums up her thoughts on her upcoming graduation.

“I am both excited and anxious about what the future holds. I am glad that this journey has finally come to an end,” Fields said. Fields, who has been chosen to read the scripture verse at commencement, knows that while the road ahead seems convoluted, she will be fine. “Though I may not know what tomorrow holds,” she said, “I do know I have been well-prepared.”

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