VIU students glad to graduate

Some Vancouver Island University graduates felt an extra bit of relief to be walking across the stage in cap and gown Tuesday.

Chantal Stephan

Some Vancouver Island University graduates felt an extra bit of relief to be walking across the stage in cap and gown Tuesday.

A month-long faculty strike at the university this spring had many students worried their graduation dates would be pushed back. The strike ended just in time to save the semester without having to push classes into May or cancel the semester altogether.

About 650 students from 14 bachelor’s and master’s programs attended the degree graduation convocation ceremonies on Monday and Tuesday.

Pietro Solda, a 24-year-old criminology student, started his masters last week at Royal Roads University. In April, he was worried he would have to put off the next step in his education for another year.

“It affected my marks,” he said. “I’m glad we’re finally here. It’s more real now. It’s more official.”

Candice Entius, an interior design student, said the strike was “nerve wracking”, but now she’s merely relieved and excited to start the next chapter of her life.

“It’s a lot of hard work done,” she said.

The labour dispute worked in the favour of Ron Gaucher, a jazz studies student.

Gaucher, 23, was late in applying for the post baccalaureate education program at VIU, but the strike postponed the schedule, so his application made it in in time for him to start in September.

Being out of class for a month caused some consternation for Kim Moes, a liberal studies and creative writing student.

But when school was back in session, the 40-year-old was so happy and relieved to be back, she attacked her courses with renewed vigour and finished on a high note.

Liberal Studies student Andrea Sheppard was worried the strike would affect her graduation date, but used the time to catch up on homework and figured it wouldn’t do any good to get anxious about something she didn’t have any control over.

Sheppard, 23, plans to take a year off before going back to do a master’s degree in journalism – she wants to be a news anchor.

“I feel a lot more ready to take on the world than I did four years ago,” she said.

Video of the three graduation ceremonies can be viewed at http://www.viu.ca/convocation/live.

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