A bitter journey: Why is convocation on a weekday?


Due to Laurier’s lack of consideration and planning, I won’t be attending my own convocation. This unsettling notion has given the last month of my degree an inescapable melancholy undertone. As salty mascara tears of stress would stream down my face in the early hours of the morning, I would close my eyes and envision my graduation. My smiling peers and teary parents watching from the audience as I stride effortlessly across the stage to receive the piece of paper that cost me so much more than tuition fees. As a transfer student who moved here from Calgary, I abandoned everything I loved and knew in ruthless pursuit of a broadcast journalism career. I’ve taken out close to $30,000 of student loans in order to go to school here and to describe these past three years as a journey is an immeasurable understatement.

I know what you’re thinking, you moved all the way here to go to Laurier Brantford? Unfortunately there are very few journalism degree programs in Canada, and after a few haphazard tours of Alberta’s underfunded two-year broadcasting diplomas, I set my heart on eastward aspirations. The day I received my acceptance letter I collapsed on my kitchen floor bawling the happiest tears my eyes have ever known. So I packed up my things, and drove from Calgary to Brantford with a friend who was moving to Nova Scotia for school.

The homesickness has been debilitating, but I managed to rekindle the lost art of letter writing as my boyfriend has endured two painful years of long distance. My family has been incredibly supportive and we’ve become exceptionally talented at accumulating air miles as a round-trip flight costs close to $1000. Despite the loneliness and bittersweet visits home, I’m so proud of the experiences I’ve gained and inspiring people I’ve met. Living in a new province has changed me entirely as my independence and drive has only flourished in the process. Without the outstanding professors and small class sizes, I wouldn’t have learned so much about the journalism industry but also myself. The joint program with Conestoga equipped me with the performance and technical skills I need for a job in the field. The accumulation of my experience has been successful enough to land me a summer job at CTV Calgary. My career dreams are coming true but one small piece of paper is missing from the equation.

Laurier Brantford has made the unfortunate decision to schedule convocation on June 8th, 2016.This poorly planned date lands on a Wednesday, meaning my parents (along with the parents of many other students) would have to miss work to attend. Since it’s still two months after classes are done, I would have to pay rent at a new place in the meantime. The other option is I fly home, and fly back for the ceremony. If my parents were even able to come with me, our flights together without accommodation would come with a $3000 price tag. I think it’s safe to assume Laurier won’t be footing the bill as they manage to charge you another $22 to apply to graduate.

I feel robbed to say the least. There are certain milestones in life that everyone dreams of accomplishing, more so as a rite of passage than a celebration. In my mind think of birth, first day of kindergarten, your first kiss, your first car, graduating high school, graduating university, marriage, kids … death? All of these things embody a certain coming of age and the end of a chapter. My convocation was supposed to be an affirmation of the literal blood, sweat, and tears I put into this program. On June 8th, my name will be called at the liberal arts convocation but I have been denied the opportunity to attend. I will most likely regret this for the rest of my life. It has been the light at the end of my journey, thoughtlessly extinguished by the inadequate consideration of the institution I moved across the country for.

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