Moving on up: impending graduation of class of 2013


“It’s hard to put four years into a small statement,” said senior Phil Hong. “When I look back, I remember the ups and downs, the stresses of exams and papers, and the meaningful relationships I have made here. Guilford has been a second or third home to me.”

Hong, along with numerous others, will be graduating on May 18. It is the seminal Guilford experience that has influenced and affected so many of those students graduating this year.

“My experience at Guilford has been an exceptional time of growth and change,” said senior and class speaker Tim Leisman. “I’ve gained so much knowledge and built so many relationships that I know have served me well.”

This experience is not exclusive to those students who came in as first-years in 2009. It applies to everyone graduating this year whether traditional, transfer or CCE.

“I had anxieties when I transferred to Guilford and was not sure if I made the right choice or not,” said senior Douglas Reyes-Ceron. “After years of being here and on the verge of graduating, I can say without question, it was one of the best decisions I made in my life.”

Indeed, even with many worries, students are exiting the school on a high note. They are ready, though apprehensive, to enter the real world.

“In some ways, I’m ready to leave and start a new kind of life, and I’m excited about that new life,” said senior Martha McGehee. “But at the same time, I know that my life will never be like this again: where I do not have car payments or a mortgage and I don’t have to worry about making money as the key part of my existence.”

Our Alma Mater featuring music by Austin Scott ’43 with words by Russell Pope, reminds graduates that they are not alone.

“We have an alma mater song?” asks senior Nigel Espey.

We certainly do, even if many graduates, nearly every one interviewed, had no idea it existed.

“Still undimmed dear Alma Mater/ Strengthen us, dispel our fears,” the song proclaims. “So our hearts and voices joining/ Echo Guilford’s ancient fame.”

It is this “ancient fame” that will give graduates the strength to carry forward, no matter the path.

“I’m going to geology field camp all summer,” said senior and geology major Becca Dozier. “I am also applying to GeoCorps for the fall/winter.”

Others, while still unsure about their future, march forward ready for anything.

“Sadly I don’t have many plans, but I think I’m in the same boat as a lot of people,” said Espey. “I mean we’re all still pretty young, how can any of us be 100 percent sure what we want to do? Could I become an Alaskan fisherman in the next five months? Absolutely. Though let’s be real, I probably won’t.”

Though there may be seniors who are unsure about their own futures, the community has words of wisdom to offer.

“Get jobs, go to grad school, send more students to Guilford,” charges Vice President for Student Affairs Aaron Fetrow in an email interview. “Really, what (graduates) should do is something they love.  Pursue your dreams.  Chase a passion.  Every one of them knows deep down what provides meaning for them.”

Many graduates found meaning in the friends they made while here.

“Guilford really has become a deeper part of me and adjusting to a new place just seems like a strange concept,” said senior Meg Stern. “I have such a great community here that you can’t find just anywhere else. I’m leaving my extended family and going out into the world. I think we all have that fear of going out on our own.”

No matter the paths graduates take, it is important to remember what they leave behind. The Alma Mater proclaims that each student’s endeavors shall be “hallow’d” and many at the college take this to heart.

“I will remember you forever, thanks to that annoying rash I just can’t seem to shake after you forced me into the lake,” said Fetrow. “Poetic, eh? Actually, I do not need to wish (you) luck. (You) are all well prepared for the successes that I know are inevitable. I will miss (you) all!”

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