The careers of thousands of East Carolina University students will end with commencement on May 3 at 7 p.m. in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
According to ECU’s commencement website, students who are set to graduate this May should have received an email which included names of specific people they should contact so they can ensure they are on the graduate list. The website said the main ceremony has a different purpose than departmental ceremonies.
“The main university commencement ceremony is where degrees are conferred by the Chancellor,” the website said. “Individual names are not read; your unit ceremony is coordinated and held by your college, school or department.”
ECU’s commencement website said family members do not need tickets to attend the main commencement, however, the departmental ceremonies may require them. Students can contact their individual departments to find out more.
ECU’s commencement website said departmental graduation ceremonies will be held on both Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 throughout the day. According to the website, students who need to take summer classes to finish their degree will be allowed to attend the main commencement ceremony.
According to the commencement website, students completing their degrees over the summer have the option to participate in spring commencement, or they can wait until the Fall 2019 ceremony.
“Students who will complete all degree requirements in spring or summer are eligible to participate in the University Spring commencement ceremony,” the website said.
In a statement, ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton said he was looking forward to celebrating “one of the most special events in the life of a university” with all of ECU’s seniors, an event which will include an address by ECU alum and actress Emily Procter and a fireworks display.
“It is interesting that a ceremony for graduates is called a commencement,” Staton said in his statement. “But if you think about it, having received your degree, you are commencing with life, family, a career, or next steps.”
Currently, parts of both Fifth Street and Reade Street are closed due to construction caused by the Town Creek Culvert Project, according to ECU news services. Because of this construction, news services said it is likely traffic will be backed up along Fifth Street.
According to the commencement website, parking for the main graduation at Dowdy Ficklen-Stadium will begin at 4:30 p.m. The website said these spaces are limited and are only available on a “first-come, first-served basis.”
Amanda Curran, a senior political science, communication and foreign language/literature triple major, said she still does not know how graduation has finally arrived.
“It feels like such a long time leading up to graduation, but once it’s finally here it really catches you off guard,” Curran said. “I’m not ready to leave all of this behind, honestly.”
Curran said she wouldn’t have done anything differently during her time spent in college, knowing what she knows now, but she does wish she had believed in herself more throughout her undergraduate years. She said each time she added on a new major or challenge she was unsure of herself, but she was able to work things out in the end.
Curran said her best advice for those still in school is to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself throughout college.
“Apply for things, study abroad, just do everything you possibly can because it is such a short period of time and it goes by so fast,” Curran said. “Be super open-minded about trying new things, too. Don’t stick to what you know, because college, I feel like, is the time more than any to try new things and get yourself out there.”
Ray Parker, a senior criminal justice and political science double major, said he feels as though he has accomplished much as a first-generation college graduate. He said he wishes he had known more about proper time management going into college.
“I worked throughout my entire college curriculum, even through all my breaks. Fall break, spring break (and) even the summer sessions,” Parker said. “I was actively working and taking summer session classes as well. I probably wish I had known about how treacherous working and going to school is at the same time.”
Parker said some of his biggest advice for current students is to make sure they are going to class every day, even when it sometimes becomes hard to do so. Time flies by very quickly, according to Parker, so students should get involved in campus life and organizations to get the most of their time.
“I think it’s very important for you to experience life,” Parker said. “I know it was very hard for me to do that while I was in college, so now that I’m graduating I just plan to enjoy life a little more.”
According to ECU’s commencement website, departmental graduation eligibility is determined by each individual departments. It said students should contact their departments to find out more if they will not have completed their degree this semester.
A full list of departmental graduation ceremonies and locations can be found here.