THE DECEMBER GRADUATE CELEBRATION LUNCHEON '.Amy Hrub/ Staff Writer As the semester comes to,a close, most Meredith students are just trying to : find a vVay to get through the tests, pa pers,and projects they have while select ing classes for the spring, There are 120 Meredith stu.dents, however, for whom • these last days of the 2009 fall semester ', are their last few days at Meredith. These students are graduating in December and moving away from Meredith into the real world. • With Meredith and the surrounding area (and the.entire country for that mat ter) facing an economic downturn, these , December graduates'find themselves in a tough spot that begins with the celebra- tipn'of their completion of their years at Meredith. But while the traditional Meredith December graduation cer emony has been canceled, SGAand tfre Office of.Student Leadership and Service have created a unique alternative that they-are calling the “Meredith College December Graduate Celebration Luncheon.” Cheryl Jenkins in the. Office of Student Leadership and Service reports that the event will be held at the Brasa Steakhouse on Sunday, December 6lh. There will. be a speaker from the college and ■ recognitions from the college deans to acknowledge and congratulate the students on their.achievements, and.other plans are still waiting to be finalized based on the number of students and guests who RSVP (for graduating seniors reading this, the deadline is Thursday the f9th, aka tomorrow). Ms. Jenkins reports that • she "hopes that students who attend will value this experience as a time to celebrate their accomplishments." And she points,out, quite accurately, that SGA and the Office of Student Leadership and Service “want to make it a unique and specjal expehr ence for them [the graduates]." December graduate Aubrey Jones says that she,is'“upset we [the gradu ates] don’t have a graduation ceremony... but more than excited about graduation.” Most December graduates seem to feel the same way. Some of th^rn may leave campus for good in December, and oth ers may return to walk in May, but for now these graduates are a part of a unique and creative experience that illuistrates once again hovy the Meredith community comes together when times are tough. THE IMMORTAL NINE Gianna Tieri Contributing Writer I am a 37-year-old freshman. If my life had gbne according to my original plan, I wouldn’t be going to college at this point In my life. But, if my life had gone according to my plan, I wouldn’t be writing this from Italy. I simply did not believe it was pos sible for me to have a semester abroad with all of my responsibili ties and commitments at home. In February 2009,1 had just start ed my first semester at Meredith College and noticed the posters promoting a semes ter in Sansepblcro. I thought the program just seemed too good to be true—incred-. ibie—but I knew I had to ask. If they told me “no," then I'd be able to stop thinking about it all the time. My jife would be sb much simpler if I vi/as told that I couldn’t go. But if I didn’t even ask, would I always wonder? There were so many practical reasons why I didn't think this could work. I went Into the study abroad office and just started asking questions, waiting to find that insurmountable obstacle that Photo courtesy; http:// media'Cdn.tripadvisor. com/media/photo* s/00/19/0,1/0a/florence- italy.jpg would prevent my participation. I asked: Am I too old? Am I too new to school? As a lactose- Intolerant-vegetarlan, will I be able to eat anything In Italy? I’m really nervous,about living with traditional-aged students, as 1 imagine the younger students don’t want to be living in the same room as someone their mother's age. One by one, my questions were answered. Several students younger and older than me had gone abroad and had a great time, meal accommoda tions are possible (and delicious), and If it was a genuine problem for me to share a room with a traditional-aged student— or if one of them had an issue about living with me—arrangements could be made. I filled out the application and continued on to the financial aid office. The most practi cal qiiestion: Would I be eligible for loans to cover the trip? The preliminary answer was “yes." I had chosen to wait to disbuss this with my family until 1 thought there was a chance it was even possible. Now that it did seem

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