LCSN: Graduates prepare to move on from NMSU

December 5, 2009. Retrieved online: December 7, 2009 from Amanda L. Husson, Las Cruces Sun-News

Watch a live Webcast of the commencement ceremony.

LAS CRUCES — With graduation less than a week away, Jamie Harrison is getting a little nervous.

“I’m kind of starting to freak out a little bit,” the 25-year-old kinesiology major said. “But it’s mostly excitement. It’s a little scary, though. It’s a huge chapter in my life that’s closing.”

Harrison will join an estimated 950 students expected to participate in the commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at New Mexico State University’s Pan American Center. She said walking across the stage was something she felt she should do, though many of the 1,444 students set to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in December choose to skip the ceremony.

Marisela Marquez in the registrar’s office said more and more students have been participating, and if the trend continues, the university may need to split the December commencement into two ceremonies, like the May commencement. She said the university would probably split up the ceremony if attendance reaches the 1,000 mark, something that could happen in the next few years.

“To a lot of people, it’s a really important ceremony,” Marquez said.

Marquez said many of the students graduating in December have managed to get through their courses in less than the standard four years.

“A lot of students are taking the maximum credits to get it done,” she said.

Those graduates are facing a tough job market. In the last two years, the national unemployment rate has jumped from 4.9 percent to 10 percent. Harrison is planning a move to Kansas with her boyfriend, who’s in the National Guard, and she hasn’t lined up a job yet.

“I have to look around when I get there and get certified,” she said.

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