Seniors reflect on time at Point Park, look ahead

Students entering last semester offer advice to underclassmen

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Seniors reflect on time at Point Park, look ahead

Musical theater senior, Melvin Hollis, looks ahead at his last semester at Point Park.

Musical theater senior, Melvin Hollis, looks ahead at his last semester at Point Park.

Photo by Ethan Leisie

Musical theater senior, Melvin Hollis, looks ahead at his last semester at Point Park.

Photo by Ethan Leisie

Photo by Ethan Leisie

Musical theater senior, Melvin Hollis, looks ahead at his last semester at Point Park.

Written By Lauren Clouser, Co-Features Editor

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For many, graduation can feel like a point far off into the future. It’s something that is always looming in the distance, and can feel as though the day will never come. For seniors entering their last semester of classes, however, graduation has become much more of a reality, which can bring about mixed emotions.

“It feels so amazing,” senior photojournalism major Vania Arthur said. “It’s weird because I didn’t think this day was going to come to be honest. You know, you’re in school for 17 years of your life, including college, so it’s like ‘oh this is it.’”

For Melvin Holley, a senior musical theater major, graduating still seems unreal.

“It feels pretty surreal and very scary, but exciting. It feels like it’s not happening…very bittersweet is a good word for it,” Holley said.

The time, for some, did not always go quickly. Laura Chelgren, a senior theater arts major, said that college only seemed to go quickly when she looked back on it.

“I don’t think it goes quickly when you’re in it, but looking back it seems very condensed,” Chelgren said. “When you’re in the middle of it, you’re too busy thinking about all of the things that you have to do, like focusing on what’s stressing you out and how to alleviate that. But looking back you don’t really remember how hard things were.”

Some seniors are taking less courses for their final semester. Chelgren is taking 12 credits, the minimum amount of credits needed to remain a full-time student, and is looking forward to lessening her course load.

“It’s nice,” Chelgren said. “I’m going to try to get involved in the community in other ways and try to volunteer at the Carnegie Library and try some new things out.”

Arthur is also taking 12 credits for her last semester, and has an internship with “Nubian Impulse Magazine.”

“I’m the blogger and photographer for their magazine,” Arthur said. “So I’ll be going around to some art events that are happening in Pittsburgh, mostly in East Liberty and Garfield area.”

Holley is taking more courses than usual, and hopes that the coming semester will help him to grow.

“I hope to become somebody that I can be proud of…to find somebody within myself that when I leave here I can look back and say I’ve grown, to be somebody completely new that people can look at and say ‘I’d be proud to know him and learn from him to be entertained by him,’” Holley said.

Arthur is hoping that her last semester will be an accumulation of everything she has learned so far.

“I want this semester to be the one that I actually use all the things that I’ve learned between freshman year and now to help me grow when I leave,” Arthur said.

Arthur stated that she is excited to graduate, although her post graduation plans are not yet set in stone.

“It’s weird for me because I was always the type of person that was always five years ahead as far as planning,” Arthur said. “I always knew what I was going to do, what I was going to accomplish the next year and now it’s just like I don’t even know how I’m going to eat.”

Arthur said that she is unsure if she will stay in Pittsburgh after graduation, but if she chooses to stay she hopes to focus more on fine art photography.

Holley’s post graduation plans are also uncertain, although he does have a goal in mind.

“I do have dreams after graduation,” Holley said. “I do dream to do a national tour for a production. No production in particular, just to be able to tour the country and see new things and have new experiences and create a new layer of myself.”

Holley’s advice for underclassmen is to remember that the purpose of college is to get an education. He also emphasized the importance of self care and staying true to yourself.

“Be true to yourself because you’re the only person who’s living your life, and sometimes in college you’re trying to find an identity, and that can cause you to act out of character,” Holley said. “The best that you can do is be true to yourself.”

Arthur also offered similar advice about self care.

“Definitely make sure that you’re taking care of yourself,” Arthur said. “Don’t get super caught up in the stress of finals and homework and schoolwork. You need to take a break and make sure that your mental health is in order.”

For many, graduation signifies the end of formal education and the entrance into the “real world.”

Chelgren said she is emotionally ready to graduate, although she is unsure if she is prepared.

“It’s hard to know if you’re prepared for a career without ever having attempted it professionally, so I don’t really know if I’m ready, but I think I’m ready for something new,” Chelgren said.

Holley said he currently does not feel ready for graduation, but feels that he will be when the time comes.

“I’m nervous,” Holley said. “But I do feel like I am ready for it but I just don’t know it yet.” 

Arthur is nervous, although she believes she is ready.

“I’m actually quite terrified,” Arthur said. “But I think I’m ready. I’m prepared for it. Everything that I’ve done so far has lead me up to this point.”

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