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Graduation around the corner, excitement in the air

By Nina Garcia | Pulse Staff Reporter

Graduation

Excitement sets in as graduation approaches, and Palo Alto students are diligently completing their final courses before they can walk the stage.

“After changing my major several times, I’m glad I finally stuck to one and I’m excited to graduate from PAC,” said Tiffany Smith, a sophomore Liberal Arts major.

For many Palo Alto students, earning an associate’s degree is only the first step on their journey toward receiving their bachelor’s degree and beyond.

Maria del Rosario “Rosie” Castro, director of the Center for Academic Transitions, said an estimated 500 students are expected to graduate on Thursday, May 10. Graduation will be held at the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum at 7 p.m. Castro expects another 500 students to finish by the end of summer 2012. Castro believes students who choose to get involved are the most successful.

“It’s your inner desire that truly motivates a person,” she said.

The endless hours in the Biology lab, sleepless study nights and stress from exams will all be worth it when crossing the stage on graduation day. Graduation is tangible.

“There were plenty of times I felt like giving up, after coming home from work and remembering my Ethics paper was due the very next morning. For sure, it would have been easier to throw in the towel,” said Amanda Contreras, a sophomore Education major. “But then I thought about how close I was to graduating and pushed myself to finish.”

Palo Alto is credited with having professors who surpass the expectations that many people associate with an undergraduate institution. Smith said she owes a great deal to Dr. Dorothy Haecker, a faculty adviser who took Smith under her wing and helped motivate her to graduate.

“My experience with Palo Alto has been wonderful. The professors and guidance I received here is what I think really helped me continue until I earned my degree,” Smith said.

An extra incentive graduates have to look forward to is Graduation Festivál, which will take place on Wednesday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Student Center Annex. Palo Alto began this program in 2009, providing an opportunity for graduates to meet with representatives from Our Lady of the Lake University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, St. Mary’s University, Texas State University and the University of the Incarnate Word. UPS and Time Warner Cable will accompany the universities along with several other local employers associated with majors offered at Palo Alto.

College takes commitment and self discipline; it is a time for self-discovery, when a person’s mettle is tested. On May 10, students and their families will be able to celebrate this educational milestone.