June 12, 2003, Gazette
Well, spring semester is here. A few people
linger in the student centre and some roam the halls, but really, Memorial
is in slow motion this term. Last winter and fall there were about 13,000
undergrads packed on campus, but not now. This summer there are only 5,341
die-hard undergrads registered.
With fewer students, most campus services slow down over the summer. The
faculty and staff recently began their summer hours so offices close a
half-hour earlier. QE II is operating under reduced hours as well.
Coffee fanatics know that Roasters is also on a summer schedule. That
means the Arts Building has no coffee stop these days and the Science
Roasters is open less frequently. Treats in the student centre is still
open for your java fix but business must be suffering. In fact, I don't
know how businesses manage in the summer. The manager of the campus pharmacy
claimed business was “dead” and the normal eight-hour workload
reduced to a couple of hours.
Students appear more relaxed than usual. However, that could change when
exams roll around. It always does. There's a tendency to put things off
until it doesn't seem possible to get all the work done and then cram.
It's not just how smart you are in university, but also how well you work
For those of you doing intersession courses, midterm exams are already
underway, which, I noticed, brought many students to the campus. Finally,
there were bodies in the student centre. I still didn't have to wrestle
my way to a table but that familiar cafeteria buzz was back in the air.
There was one event, however, that drew a crowd this term.
The parking lot of the Arts and Culture Centre was blocked from May 28-30.
Inside there was an exhilarating hustle of activity. The reception area
was hot with anticipation; full of optimistic graduates who, only a few
weeks ago, looked nothing like the aspiring intellectuals they were. The
haggard, run-down look common to university pupils disappeared, replaced
by light-hearted smiles and laughter.
Their research was over, final theses finished, tuxedos rented, dresses
pressed, gowns borrowed and caps fitted. Parents were going snap-happy
with fancy new digital cameras. Another spring convocation has now come
and gone and a new gang of budding, young graduates hit the streets.
The academic procession, which includes members of faculty, honorary graduates,
the president and chancellor of the university just to name a few, contend
convocation is “the most significant gathering of the university
It’s true that all our scholastic efforts will culminate on convocation
day. But there are many other significant days between now and then. Perhaps,
going to parties instead of doing your assignments won’t affect
the entire university community nor will your choice to attend MUN this
summer, but they are significant decisions, each bringing you closer to
or further from your own convocation.
So, have a good term. Relax and enjoy the quiet atmosphere on campus.
But don't become complacent. Remember, every class you take, every assignment
you write, and every presentation you give brings you closer to graduation.