You know it’s Senior Send Off Day when you see Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana wearing an apron over his button up shirt and tie, giving out free hot dogs. Darwin Quad looked somewhat like a festival ground on Thursday as the campus celebrated its graduating students with a bang. Santa Rosa’s KTRY radio blasted out popular tunes as seniors kicked back and enjoyed the sunshine.
They enjoyed the fun of a bouncy house as well as free food, games and prizes provided by various campus and off-campus organizations. The staff of the Seawolf Service Center was in the thick of the festivities. Tracey Goodman, a Seawolf service staff member, enjoyed celebrating the achievements of seniors throughout the day.
“It’s lighthearted; [the seniors] get to come and have a little fun, eat some snacks. Our department works with them a lot; we do all the parking and IDs and all of that. It’s fun to see them get to this point,” said Goodman.
SSU Alumni Association hosted the event encouraging seniors to stay connected with the campus post-graduation. The director of the SSU Alumni Association, Laurie Ogg, said the occasion is “always bittersweet.”
“We as a university are so fortunate and enjoy such an outstanding group of students who give so much to the university,” said Ogg. “It’s tough to see them go, but you know that they are going to go off and do wonderful things and they’re going to springboard into their careers.”
The day served as a good time for graduating seniors to reflect upon their college experiences throughout the last four or more years. Business Management major Konnor Darr is ready to graduate and experience the world beyond college.
“It’s been rough getting [my college degree] all done in four years. I’m ready to get into the real world,” said Darr.
Sociology major Anzra Sullivan’s experience at Sonoma State has been an overall positive experience, despite recent challenges the campus has faced.
“Considering the issues Sonoma has been having lately, I personally have had a very good experience here. I never had trouble getting my classes that I needed. I made use of the great faculty and resources that they do have here,” said Sullivan.
Utilizing the knowledge of faculty and staff is important in avoiding a “big workload” in senior year, according to Biochemistry major Stella Katisi.
She advises students to plan ahead and speak to an advisor to ensure they have completed all the necessary classes to graduate.
“Know all the requirements, see your advisor because there may be changes you don’t know about,” said Katisi.
Sullivan perceives Sonoma State’s faculty as more than just her educators and as a network for personal support.
“I had great relationships with faculty. I love hanging out with my professors when I can and talking about nerdy stuff with them,” said Sullivan. “I went through my own personal issues and being able to go to them outside of class and let them know what was going on I also saw a lot of support there.”
From working to graduate school, the post-graduation plans of graduating seniors are various.
Biochemistry major Bennah Naju credits the Pre-Health Club on campus for encouraging her to apply to pharmacy school after graduation.
“The Pre-Health Club experience made me decide I really want to go to pharmacy school; [the Pre-Health Club] kind of directed me,” said Naju.
Other seniors, like liberal studies major Kelsey Curry, are going to take a year off and seek employment before starting graduate school.
“I’m going to move back home and get a job, I’m hoping to get a job at Kaiser (Permanente),” said Curry.
Graduating seniors also passed on some final words of advice to continuing Seawolves; sociology major Dustin Arbuckle said it’s important to make college “the best it can be.”
“Enjoy it; you’re only here for four to five years. Make sure you balance out your fun and your school and don’t waste four years in the library and look back and think how much better your experience could have been,” said Arbuckle.