By Cooper Drummond
On May 20, the SUNY Purchase class of 2022 will have their graduation ceremony; each student carries their own, unique experiences of life at Purchase.
“It's got its ups and downs, but overall, Purchase was a good school to attend,” said Max Hogan, a graphic design major who began attending Purchase in Fall 2018. “The overall community and the education are why you would want to come here, and Purchase delivers on both fronts.”
It appears that the community spans the entire campus as some students in different majors agree with Hogan.
“Overall, I'd say the school is ok, but the people that are here are incredible,” said James Cronier, a studio production major who began attending Purchase in Fall 2020.
“Once you get to know the community, everyone should be able to find the right people for them,” said Dante Barbera, a psychology major who transferred to Purchase in 2019 during his second semester of college. Previously, he was attending a small private college that was 45 minutes away from Los Angeles. “I've had a great experience with the professors in the psychology program. They've all been very helpful and are all extra smart individuals.”
At Purchase, all students are required to do a year-long senior project in order to graduate. It is designed to cumulate and hone the skills that one has learned from their major. Each student does their own unique topic.
Hogan redesigned the menu user interface of the first-person hero shooter video game Valorant for his senior project. It was displayed alongside other senior projects in the RECONVENENE: 2022 Visual Arts Senior Thesis Exhibition. “I've taken away lots of lessons that have taught me about what I want to pursue outside of school (user interface/user experience design), how to communicate better, and also a bit about developing my own personal style as an artist,” he said.
“The studio production faculty have no reservations about putting experience and real-world goals before assignments and formalities,” said Cronier, who came to Purchase with an associate’s degree under his belt. “My senior project focuses entirely on my career, showcasing professional projects I do with clients. It absolutely reflects what I learned, as my time here has made much of this work possible.”
Some to-be graduates, however, believe Purchase didn’t always meet their expectations.
“Honestly, I felt out of place a lot of my time Purchase,” said Ian Stein, a communications major who began attending Purchase in Fall 2018. “I’m not into the arts and I feel like this school doesn’t provide much for students who aren’t interested in that kind of thing, unless you’re into journalism or history.”
“My experience was ok,” said Royce De Jesus, a language and culture major who transferred to Purchase in Fall 2020. Her first year was completely online. “I’m grateful to have had an opportunity to dorm in an apartment and have my own room,” she said. “I didn’t get to interact too much with campus activities because I worked half the week and then filled with school work the other half.”
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a 2018 study found that 43% of full-time undergraduate students were also employed. To live on campus at Purchase and to be considered a full-time student, a minimum coarse load of 12 credits is required for a semester.
Those who had more positive experiences still pointed out that the college is not perfect.
“The food and food portions are terrible and I wish the campus was a bit livelier in terms of social events that people wanted to go to,” said Hogan.
“I think there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of the relationship between administrators, UPD and the student body,” said De Jesus. “I always find that something needs work or there isn’t enough communication.” This comes after two separate instances during the Fall 2021 semester. Purchase student, Nahiem Paris was almost suspended by Purchase for handling a friend’s taser on campus, which led to a student protest in October. Purchase also initially did not want to reinstate the Black Students Union.
Graduating after years of taking classes and a senior project can bring a sense of relief to students. There are more doors opened when one has a bachelor’s degree, like attending graduate school or being more likely to find a job or internship.
“I’m glad to finally get out of this school, graduate and start the real world,” said Stein.
Some students agree that finishing their Purchase student careers can come with conflicting emotions. "I’m feeling nervous, stressed, and excited all in one. I have been in college for 5 years now and I can’t wait to be done," said De Jesus, who is a first-generation college student.
However, graduating from an undergraduate college is often associated with a transitionary period in life, which can bring a looming sense of anxiety and uncertainty to some.
"On one hand, I'm ecstatic. It's about time. I'm ready to move on. But on the other, I wish I had another year to go,” said Hogan. “‘The real world’ is a bit scary, and although I know everything will work out just fine, I can't help but feel a bit anxious about knowing it's time for the next phase of my life. There's a safety net to being in school that is a bit scary to lose. Again, though, I'm thrilled to be done.”