First-Year of College "Graduation" Ceremonies

Colleges & local networks celebrate a student's completion of their first year in college to keep them motivated and hear their struggles.

Photo of Brett Brownell
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The two hardest years of college for me were my first and my last. The last year is all about the excitement and anxiety of finding your first job and beginning your career, while working towards your graduation ceremony. But the first year is difficult as well because of the long journey ahead and the transition that you're going through.

What if students could look forward to a ceremony and reflection moment after their first year of college? The organized event would encourage them to keep going with the remaining years of college and gave them the opportunity to share their struggles with old and new friends.

This could be a coordinated event by high schools or by colleges. Or a resource that local groups and families could put to use.

If high schools organized, they could bring together former classmates to give them an opportunity to share stories and get advice for how to move forward in their second years and beyond. If colleges organized, they could give students a chance to meet professors, advisors or other mentors who could hear their stories and give advice. If families or communities organized, they could learn from others around the country doing similar events what format, questions, or invitees work best for bringing continued motivation to students.

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Photo of Mina Kobayashi
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Colby College does this!!! The school has a very tight-knit community in the Pugh Center (the multicultural student center), and one of its programs is the first-generation college student mentorship. Before the school year ends, there's a big Pugh Center graduation, and we also receive stoles to wear during our commencement that represents our respective programs/clubs. There's such a big sense of shared pride when you're all in a room together knowing that you all made it through together.

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