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Grad Fair prepares students for what’s next

Ready to get fitted for her cap and gown, fourth-year student Paige Emerson stepped up to the table in the Memorial Union at this year’s annual Graduation Fair held on Wednesday, March 21. Tables and booths were set up in front of the bookstore, with staff stationed there to answer questions and help those graduating navigate their way.

“I know I have a lot of work to get done between now and graduation, but I do feel like I am ready for this next stage of my life, and I cannot wait. As for advice, we are all in the same boat as college students trying to navigate our way through starting our adult lives. Just focus on yourself and what you have accomplished, it will be time to graduate before you know it.”

Students waited in line to purchase their caps and gowns and receive commencement tickets. Many stayed to walk around and ask questions about the graduation process and ceremony. Students could also order diploma frames, class rings, class of 2018 T-shirts and enter drawings to win prizes. There were also information booths set up in order for students to learn more about the Alumni Association and how to get involved after they leave the University of Maine.

“I think I am ready to graduate, well yes and no. I haven’t really had the chance to think about it and process everything that’s been happening so fast,” fourth-year student Brigitte Parady said. “I am focusing on doing well this semester, so it has been a little stressful. I do think it is about time though, the next chapter of my life is beginning.”

Many of the participants had mixed feelings and reactions towards receiving their caps and gowns, and getting ready for the big day. Faculty and staff on campus helped to ease the stress of the process and make sure each graduating student has everything they need for commencement. Commencement this year will be held on Saturday, May 12.

The class of 2018 got their caps and gowns at the annual Grad Fair, on Wednesday March 21. Photo by Aliya Uteuova, Culture Editor

“I am looking forward to graduation. I am excited to move on to my next chapter of my life,” fourth-year student Stephanie McAvoy said. “That being said, I am also dreading it just because I know this will be the last time for a while I will be in Maine for an extended period of time, and I absolutely love this place.”

Peers reminisced about their memories of UMaine, and discussed future plans and goals with friends. Many shared fun stories and offered advice to students not yet graduating and those who were.

“Enjoy these last couple of weeks at UMaine, and take advantage of everything you can. There’s really so much to do here, and you don’t want to leave regretting not having done something,” McAvoy said. “UMaine gave me the experience and confidence I didn’t even know I needed in order to be successful, and now I am pursuing my dreams. There is no doubt that this place will forever be the college of my heart always.”

McAvoy is set to attend graduate school in the fall at Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

The fair brought graduating students together in one space to meet and talk about future plans and end-of-semester activities. Many of the students in attendance waited in line for their caps and gowns, while also getting to know one another and talking with faculty about commencement.

“The fair was a great way to bond with other people who are also at the same stage in their lives,” Parady said. “All I can say is keep working hard. Don’t look at what is ahead of you, take it one day at a time and just power through it.”

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