College. college.COllege.COLLEGE.c o l l e g e. If you are a current student at Piedmont, the school’s focus seems to center around a far off campus somewhere with some reputation and some old brick buildings, and this one-track college mindset can be more than presumptive.
Yes. I am going to college next year. Yes. High school is supposed to prepare students for higher education if that is what they would like to pursue. However, I think that the assumption that everyone is going down that brick path, especially in a town like ours, can alienate those that do not follow that path and create extra pressures for people who do. The name-college-name-college matriculations list only exacerbates those issues.
Matriculations, in short, is a list of where students are attending college. TPH has released them every year for at least 20 years, and each year the seniors in TPH agree unanimously if and how it should be printed. This year is the first year that we have decided not to print the list in the name-college-name-college format, rather opting to ask students for a five word answer on what their plans are for the coming year.
The matriculations list in past years left out those who did not want to say where they were going or what they were going to do. It is their right still to be left out, if that is what they choose, but the five-words-or-less answer will hopefully include everyone, regardless of what university they may or may not attend.
Here is an example of where past matriculations have gone wrong: a close friend of mine that graduated in the class of 2016 took a gap year this year. Gap years are cool, and are nothing to feel ashamed of. Yet he was made to feel ashamed of putting that in the matriculations list because of Piedmont’s college-obsessed atmosphere. The constant questions about what exactly his plans were, prompted by the matriculations list, certainly did not help.
Also, not everyone goes to college. Yes, at Piedmont, the majority of students do. But for students that choose to work, enter the armed forces, or just do not know what they will do yet, are completely valid and deserve to feel like they are a part of the community. They deserve to feel proud of graduating and moving forward, just like other students. Their plans deserve to be celebrated, too.
“But wait!” one might say. “TPH has always printed full matriculations- And I want to know where everyone is going!”
I understand that there is a history, and I understand that the public wants to know. However, just because we have always done something one way does not mean that we should continue to do it that way. Just because the public wants to know does not mean that they are entitled to know.
Ultimately it is no one’s business where students go to college or, even if they go to college.
However, it is still a great thing to share, if that is what the seniors want to do. It still has its old benefits, the matriculations list has been great for networking in the past, and it still can be. And for those students who are going to college, they can feel proud and share the culmination of their hard work with the community. We will still print where students are going, but it is up to them whether they want to disclose that information or not. I’m just glad it’s now a broader field in order to include all students and all plans.
So let us all enjoy the celebration of our futures: in the seniors own words, what they are most looking forward to in the coming year. Let us focus on their direction instead of the name of a school.
Cheers to the class of 2017 and to whatever the future brings.