After four years of late nights, early mornings, study groups and research papers, the class of 2012 is excited to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. The First Farewell will give seniors the opportunity to celebrate their upcoming graduation with fellow classmates and professors before the class says their final goodbye this May.
“It gives you a chance to celebrate all the work you’ve done,” said Willie Eggleston, senior Pharmacy major and student government president. “I think it’s important that we reward all of our seniors.”
In Eggleston’s opinion, The First Farewell is a chance for seniors to give themselves a pat on the back after years of academic dedication. He feels the event is a great way to initialize their departure from Wilkes and will make what little time seniors have left more special. The First Farewell will be an opportunity for seniors to spend with friends they will soon be saying good-bye to.
Senior class representatives along with student government and The Alumni Association have collaborated for five years to plan the annual First Farewell. Each year has been more successful with increasing attendance. So far 90 students for the 2012 gathering have registered.
Bridget Giunta, Wilkes alumnus and associate director, has taken part in planning The First Farewell for the past three years. Giunta wishes the event was offered when she was a senior, although she is glad to help put the gathering together for the seniors now.
“I just think it’s so much fun; every year students tell us how much fun they had at the event,” Giunta said. “It’s not an event that (seniors) would want to miss.”
Moving on to the next chapter of life will be a bitter-sweet experience for the class of 2012. At this point in the semester, seniors are feeling the crunch of pressure as final projects are due, graduation draws near and job applications need postage stamps. At the same time, their hard work is about to finally pay off and their hands are extended in full reach toward their diplomas.
While some plan to continue their studies at the graduate level, others are beginning to seek professional jobs and are concerned about the economy. Stacy Prelewicz, senior class president and pharmacy major, expressed concerns for her fellow classmates who will be seeking jobs next year.
“I think many are worried because the economy is so bad (and) a lot of people that have graduated had trouble finding jobs which makes paying off debt and things very difficult,” Prelewicz said.
To help graduating seniors deal with their student-loan debt, Prelewicz and other class officials are working with Philip Ruthkosky, associate dean of Student Development, to coordinate a loan debt workshop that will take place in March.
As the beginning of saying good-bye, The First Farewell will take place Feb. 9 from 7-9 p.m. in the Ballroom. Dinner, drinks and entertainment will be offered. Registration for attendance must be done by Feb. 7 through the Alumni Office. Attendance is free but limited to seniors age 21 and over; inviting faculty is encouraged. Following the Farewell will be a senior social at Mulligan’s Irish Pub on South Main Street from 9-11p.m.
“It’s a great night to stop and just celebrate your last semester and your time as a class with your friends,” Giunta said.