Winter (break) is coming (to an end). While most SJC students are dreading that Jan. 19 return date, hundreds of mid-year graduates have already bid a wintry farewell to their alma mater.
SJC’s January grads may not have the glitz and glamour of a winter ceremony to commemorate the completion of their degree, but they’re just as qualified for career employment. In fact, USA Today says that mid-year college graduates have the benefit of maximizing job opportunities by pursuing job prospects earlier in the year.
Mid-Year Graduation — Continuing a Growing Trend
An accelerated commencement is something SJC students have been doing more and more. Over the last several years, the number of undergraduate and graduate students graduating during the winter has grown by almost 15 percent (from about 240 in 2014 to 270 in 2016.) Total mid-year graduation numbers for 2017 will be available in February.
But how do schools celebrate our mid-year grads? Smaller schools such as St. Joseph’s College do not hold a commencement ceremony for mid-year graduates. Those students have the option to walk during the May commencements alongside SJC’s spring graduates (just shy of 1,050 students at last year’s SJC Long Island ceremonies at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury). And most mid-year graduates do just that.
In spite of the five-month wait for commencement, plenty of students have taken to social media to celebrate their joy of becoming SJC winter graduates.
Rachel Russak is one such grad, sharing a Dec. 20 Instagram post playfully tossing her classwork while standing atop the iconic St. Joseph’s College brick sign in front of O’Connor Hall. Now an SJC alumna, Russak is looking forward to getting a head start on her career.
Rachel’s Fashionable Head Start
“My major at St. Joseph’s was marketing — I am looking to enter the marketing field, particularly fashion marketing,” Russak said. “I hope to work client-side for a company to market their brand.”
“Since I came to St. Joseph’s with credits from high school, I knew if I took the regular 15-credit semester I would graduate early. I decided that it would give me more time to look for a job, save me money and look great on a resume that I graduated in three-and-a-half years.”
Russak highlights a strong benefit of graduating in winter, especially for those students who graduate earlier than the traditional four years, considering an employer’s tendency to single out mid-year graduate candidates as potentially more productive and hardworking. And since less candidates apply for jobs in winter than in summer, mid-year graduates have the good fortune of seeking employment during the best possible time of the year.
These perks doesn’t necessarily mean Russak will find it easy to leave SJC. Like many students, Russak loved the family environment and friendships she made at SJC, especially as a member of the Student Government Association (SGA).
“My best memory at SJC was being a part of SGA during my junior year,” Russak said. “As secretary of student government, I interacted with students outside of my circle of friends, met and formed relationships with many faculty members, and experienced planning many different types of events. I also loved being a part of orientation team my sophomore and junior years!”