On May 7, Keene State College seniors will take their final walk down Appian Way, walk across the stage and begin their lives as KSC Alumni. Graduates will be handed their diploma at 1 p.m., rain or shine, on Fiske Quad. Family and friends are welcomed to join, and are encouraged to arrive as early as 10:30 a.m. to reserve a seat.
As the seniors prepare for the big day, they begin to look back at the last four years of their lives. Whether it be freshmen-move-in day nerves, the first time eating alone in the dining commons or that one professor that changed their view of the world, seniors have a lot to reflect on before their final walk.
Senior Stephanie Durvin said some of her favorite memories at KSC were playing on the rugby team. “I was scared to join the team originally, but I knew I wanted to join some type of club,” she stated. Durvin encourages incoming KSC students to join a club or “anything that sounds remotely interesting. Many of the opportunities that I have had come from the clubs I have been a part of,” she said.
Durvin said she will miss KSC’s popular clam chowder. “I look forward to it every Friday,” she said.
Durvin will be graduating with a degree in elementary education with a concentration in general science. After graduation, Durvin will be staying in Keene to start the Master’s program in special education here at KSC. “I love the school and all of the professors,” Durvin said. “So why not stay a little longer?”
Senior Vinny Parilla is taking a different route after graduation. He said he and his girlfriend will be moving to Raleigh, North Carolina. A “spontaneous decision,” but one he said he is looking forward to. “We want to travel and experience some culture shock,” Parilla said. “We feel that we have seen everything there is for New England to offer.”
Although he will be hundreds of miles away, Parilla said he will miss Keene, New Hampshire. “The thing I will miss the most about Keene has to be living on Blake Street and having all different types of friends living on the same street or the streets around me,” he said. Parilla said he likes the convenience of how close he is to campus. “That convenience is something I am going to have to adjust to when I am done at Keene,” he said.
As a player of the KSC baseball team, Parilla said it was difficult to balance his social life while keeping his grades up. “I have lived to be ready for anything that may come up and take the opportunities to relax when I get them,” he said.
The beauty of KSC’s campus in the fall is admired by many students. KSC senior Samantha Franks said she is going to miss those beautiful autumn days and her walks down Appian Way. She said her favorite room on campus is the Mountain View Room because she can see Mt. Monadnock. “The atmosphere is welcoming and friendly and KSC really feels like a second home for me,” she said.
As an exercise science major with a minor in health specialization, Franks said it wasn’t always easy balancing work and play, but “at the end of the day, school work always comes first.” With the help of her professors, Franks said she is prepared to “enter the real world.” Franks continued, “I’ve learned so much and I have my professors to thank for that,” she said. “I look forward to what the future holds.”
KSC senior Caroline Hird is another senior dedicated to balancing school and sports. She is a double major in elementary education and math, as well as a member of the women’s ice hockey team. She said she liked all of her professors and enjoyed the small atmosphere of the math department. “All of the professors get to know you well and show you that they care about you,” she said.
The food is something Hird said she will also miss. “This is the last time I’ll have food made and ready for me at the drop of my hat without having to do the dishes,” she said. Hird said she likes the familiarity of the Keene atmosphere and the fact that her friends are just minutes away.
Hird said she encourages incoming freshmen to “utilize everything KSC has to offer,” such as free laundry and not having to cook or do dishes. To the incoming seniors, Hird says, “Don’t wait until second semester to fit everything in that you want to do your senior year.” She encourages seniors to thank their family and friends, book graduation restaurant reservations as early as nine months ahead and live in the moment. Hird said, “Snap stories won’t last forever, so make sure you enjoy your time while you are living in it.”
MacKenzie Clarke can be contacted at email@example.com