So, how do you prepare for graduation, or commencement, which seems to be a synonym for graduation? It’s actually quite easy at Young Harris College. You don’t have to turn in a 20-page packet in triplicate to this office and that office at this particular time or else. I have received emails from the registrar asking me to come pick up some paperwork. They give you several weeks’ notice, and all you need to do is get one sheet of paper and a couple of signatures. If you want a clarification on anything, you just shoot them an email and they’ll get back to you that same day. Easy peasy. I also ordered everything I needed for graduation (robes, class ring, announcements) online. It’s super convenient, and they have plenty of options.

I will miss this place. There’s always going to be that class I wanted to take but didn’t get a chance to. Dr. Matthew Byron is teaching a course on the history of video games next semester and he’s teamed up with some of the computer science professors and ITECH staff members to make it happen. They’re getting together old game consoles, and I’m going to miss that!

However, what I’ll miss most about YHC is the people. Everyone here is incredible. That is the only way I can describe it. Dr. Mark Brunner gives all of his students his cell number in case we need it. Dr. Steve Harvey says he would prefer to discuss literature around a campfire but is okay with the classroom. Moreover, everyone remembers my name. Early last semester I had a very brief conversation with Career Mentoring Specialist Jenny Pate. When I came by months later, she still remembered my name.

I think the best way to illustrate how caring these people are is with a story. When I came over for the career fair, I forgot to bring a tie. I ran over to the bookstore to get one, but something was wrong with my card and the purchase couldn’t be made. The store manager, Jonathan Brock, let me have the tie anyway under the condition that I come back and buy it in a day or two. I came back that afternoon and paid him.

Something else I want you to know about is the senior capstone class. Since my major is history, I wrote a paper on the British soldier Banastre Tarleton. If you’ve seen the movie The Patriot, Tarleton was the villain in that. My argument is that he has been vilified due to being on the losing side of a war.

This was one of my favorite courses in my entire career. We came to class two times a week. Dr. Byron would very rarely lecture. Almost all of the class consisted of discussion over our readings. Everyone was required to say at least something each day, and it was very easy for everyone to get a chance to discuss because there were only nine students in this class.

When I cross the stage at Commencement in a couple of weeks, I will think about my time at YHC and remember the people I met here that have made my four years very special. I think every other student will be doing the same.