Staff Opinion: Navigating how to talk about the G-word (graduation) with seniors

By Jeffrey Braccia | February 28, 2019 10:15am

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Photographer Jeff Braccia shares his tips on how to navigate conversations about "the G-word."
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

As a second semester senior in college, one thing I have learned is to avoid the G-word, commonly known as “graduation,” at all cost. The phrase “do not say the G-word” has become even more common among my friends now that spring semester has started. Some people may wonder why they should not say it, or think “you should be excited, so why not talk about it?”

Do not get me wrong, many seniors are excited about graduation and cannot believe they are almost finished with their undergraduate degree. Seniors are excited about getting to graduate and receive their diploma while celebrating their accomplishment with family and friends. Most of us just do not want to talk about it.

I know that some of you may be wondering well how do I talk to senior about graduation, then. Do not worry, I’m here with three tips to help anyone navigate a G-word conversation.

Tip one:

Just don’t talk about it. Yes, that’s right. Do not talk about graduation with seniors. If seniors want to talk about graduation, they will. I can almost guarantee that if a senior wants to talk about graduation they will bring it up; you do not have to. This brings me to tip two — which covers what to do if you absolutely must talk about graduation.

Tip two:

If you must talk about graduation for logistical reasons, keep it just to that. Only ask specific questions that either a senior can answer or deflect with “ask my mom.” For example, some questions might include: When is graduation? How many tickets are there? Who is coming to your graduation? Do not ask questions other than the logistics. Keep it to just that — short and sweet.

Tip three:

Whatever you do, I want you to remember: Do not — I repeat, do not — ask what are you planning on doing after graduation. Lots of seniors are still unsure about what they are doing after they graduate. It is alright to not have a plan for after graduation. Plenty of seniors will figure it out once they have graduated.

So, while seniors are enjoying their last semester of college, let them enjoy it without bringing up the impending date of graduation. Do not bring up the G-word and if you have to; keep it to logistics. Finally, let seniors enjoy their last semester without reminding them of the pressures of life after graduation.


Jeff Braccia is a photographer at The Beacon, he can be reached at braccia19@up.edu. 

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