Graduating University of Maine students gathered Thursday in the Memorial Union for the annual Grad Fair. Most students were there to pick up their cap and gown as well as graduation tickets but the University, along with independent vendors, were offering class rings, graduation announcements and graduation photos.
In addition to the graduation trappings, the university offered graduate school information and advice from the Career Center.
Despite the throngs of students consistently filling the Union throughout the day, the Grad Fair ran smoothly. Upbeat music from above created a positive atmosphere in the busy space.
“The Grad Fair was really well streamlined,” Erin Wilson, a fourth-year English and History student, said. “I’ve only been here for 20 minutes and have everything I need already.”
“I appreciated the cupcakes while waiting in line and the music was straight fire,” Josh Rosa, a graduating biology student, added.
While the event was suffused with excitement over the upcoming graduation, the reality of the situation wasn’t lost on the seniors.
“I’m excited to graduate, sad to say bye to the people of UMaine and scared of not having a plan for next year,” Rosa said.
“The anxiety and pressure builds up as graduation approaches,” Peggy Hoare, a fourth-year student, said. “The grad fair just puts it into perspective how close the real world actually is.”
As graduation closes in, students consider their future and look ahead. Nervous excitement colors the Grad Fair, but not every student is so worried. Fourth-year English student Nathan Farnham is looking towards his future with a calmness surrounding uncertainty.
“I’m excited to get my diploma, however I may come back to turn my minor into a major so I may not be finished yet, but I’m okay with that.”
Despite the pressures of an upcoming graduation, the enthusiasm wasn’t diminished. Christine Cloutier, a photographer with GradImages has traveled to dozens of schools photographing graduating seniors.
“Some students are so excited, some even photograph with their kids. Girls come in with all their girlfriends, a bunch of guys will take a picture together,” Cloutier said. “They really get to finally do whatever they want with their photos so they have fun with it.”