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Sunday, February 5, 2023


Summer graduates find celebration difficult

Graduation is the culmination of what students work for from the start of their first semester, and the symbol of that achievement is walking across the stage during commencement.

But for summer grads the accomplishment is bittersweet as they are forced to either to walk in the fall or skip commencement all together.

“Personally I really don’t care.  The only reason I would walk is so my parents could get to see me walk but they wouldn’t get to see me walk in the summer regardless,” said kinesiology graduate, Harris Khan.

Others, like public relations graduate, Hussein Aladin,  share similar feelings.

“I decided not to (walk),” Aladin said. “I already graduated and waiting 5 months to walk –it’s like, why do it?”

Changing majors or taking courses in a sequence, like in Aladin’s case, is often time the reason why students are left with summer graduation as their only option, and by the time fall commencement rolls around, it becomes anti-climactic.

Jameela Patanwala, a corporate communications graduate, said she was hoping to graduate in May with her peers, but a change in major forced her to extend her time at UH by an extra semester.

“I do wish that I had graduated in the spring.  It would have been much better for me to walk and then take the classes instead of walking in the fall,” said Patanwala, who plans on walking in fall. “I would have been happier.”

Unlike other universities in the nation, UH does not have a summer commencement.

UH officials say there just isn’t a demand for a summer commencement and having one in the summer isn’t cost effective.

Provost John Antel speaks with student representatives regularly and said students have bigger concerns.

“It’s not to say that there are students out there that (would like to have summer commencement) but it’s not on the student government’s agenda,” Antel said. “They are much more concerned about parking and getting their financial aid and that kind of stuff.”

Students are left with picking one of two choices – obtain special permission to walk in spring commencement and finish coursework in the summer or wait till December to walk in the fall commencement.  Many students choose the latter.

“Remember, walking through the commencement is not the same as graduating.

But we do let them go through the commencement as if they’re graduating,” Antel said of summer grads who want to walk in the spring commencement. “(We) then let them come back (in the summer) and make up a course or two.”

Each college decides the parameters for when a student can walk, Antel said.  It is important that a student checks with their advisor prior to making a decision.

Patanwala and Aladin were given that choice, but both said that option did not suit them for different reasons.

“The counselor told me the special reason would (be) if you were going out of the country or something like that, and you definitely could not (walk) in the fall.  You need to evidence and all that,” Patanwala said.

The one thing Patanwala says she regrets is not being able to finish her coursework in time for spring commencement.

“Everything is about graduation in May. Around the fall, I don’t see much of it,” she said.  “I’ve been going to school for about three years now and that is what I have noticed.”

Students agree that special attention is given to spring graduates and the commencement.

“I do feel like there is a lot more hype for those that graduate in the spring,” Khan said.

Aladin said he would choose to walk in May if he had the choice.

To some, however, getting done with college is all that matters.

“When you have been in school for a really long time, the only thing that matters is finishing,” Khan said.

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