Graduation is coming quickly for seniors

Students in the Class of 2017 have mixed emotions about commencement being around the corner

With the conclusion of spring break 2017 comes the final stretch of another semester at Keene State College (KSC), and seniors especially are counting the days until May. Three KSC students spoke with The Equinox about their feelings on graduation, what they would like to do before they graduate and what advice they have for underclassmen.

Pat Homer, a KSC senior, will have his BA in music this coming May. Following graduation, his plans are not yet set in stone.

“I plan on freelancing as a musician and continuing to build up my music composition portfolio. I want to eventually go get my masters for music composition or percussion performance. In order to do that, I need a strong portfolio to show,” Homer said.

Homer added that he is both ready for and terrified of his graduation on the horizon.

Samantha Moore / Art Director

Samantha Moore / Art Director

Homer said, “I have adored my time at Keene, but I am ready for the next step in life. I have been here for five years and that is plenty for me. I am terrified to not have my exact plan for where I am going to end up after May. I do not know if I will move back to my hometown or venture out on my own.”

Homer said that he has had a great time in his five years at KSC and has seen and done some amazing things.

“I have climbed Mount Monadnock, played at Saturday Night Jive, had drinks with my mentors, done a pub crawl, gone to rivers to swim over the summer, played some of my favorite pieces of music [and] sat at Sunset Rock with the woman I love,” Homer said, before adding, “If I were to find anything [to do before graduation], I would want to see the sunrise from the top of Mount Monadnock.”

For those he is leaving behind when he finally graduates, Homer offered a piece of advice. “My biggest advice for underclassmen is to, above all else, be kind to everyone. When I say everyone, that includes you too. Treat yourself with love and respect, be there for your friends, and show up for people you care for and people you do not know.”

Homer added that KSC has made him who he is today.

“I have become much happier and stronger through all that I have experienced here. It was not always easy, and it was an uphill battle for some time, but you get through it and it feels awesome when you do,” Homer said.

Sean Stinehour, who is graduating after only three years at KSC, will have a degree in computer science and a minor in math come May.

Stinehour plans to go into software engineering after leaving Keene and is currently looking at job offers and interviewing at different companies.

“I’m wicked excited to get out there. [Graduation] can’t come fast enough,” Stinehour said.

Stinehour’s KSC bucket list includes three things he’d like to do before he graduates: “Get a drink with the whole computer science department, do a trust fall with Kemal [Atkins] and get everyone on campus to say, ‘It’s a great day to be an Owl.’”

Reflecting on his three years at KSC, Stinehour said, “I’m glad I got involved on campus; it really enhanced my time here. I went from living off campus, only going to classes and working, to being on campus involved in dozens of things. It’s way more fun and you get to meet a lot of awesome people.”

When Marisa Hope Benson graduates from KSC in May, she will have a dual degree in Holocaust and genocide studies and exercise studies.

“After graduation, I hope to take an internship in Washington, D.C. with an organization called The Sanctuaries. Its work is with diverse groups of people using creative arts to catalyze social change. After the summer internship in D.C. I plan to spend a few months in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I will be working at the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most,” Benson said of her post-graduation plans.

With mixed feelings of what is to come, Benson is excited to start her future, but anxious as she tries to balance everything and live in the moment.

Benson said, “I am on the cusp of something extraordinary and completely unknown. This dichotomy makes it easy for fear to sneak in, but I am trying to trust the universe.”

Among Benson’s favorite KSC memories are the little and seemingly inconsequential moments: slumber parties with friends, late night talks about life, tears and laughter… Benson added, “It’s hard to compete with authentic, refreshing honesty and kindness from real friends.”

Before she leaves Keene, Benson said she wanted to express her sincere gratitude and respect for the faculty and staff on campus.

Benson said, “They have made my time here wonderful and I cannot thank them enough. I feel I have made the best of my college experience, but I could not have done it without the support of the amazing people I’ve met.”

Jill Giambruno can be contacted at

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