You've heard Pomp and Circumstance; the song that's universally played at just about every graduation. Ever.
It's regal, celebratory, triumphant.
But 1,200 graduates didn't walk to Pomp Thursday. When it was time to go, the recent grads walked to the Radetzky March. It was appropriate given the fact that many of these graduates are already employed and eager for new opportunities.
Lupe Pena-Madison, for example, already has a job at the Little Rock School District as a language teacher, but receiving her master's in second language acquisition will be a big boost to her career.
"This degree means I have the pedagogy behind me to really help teachers as they work with children who are English learners," Pena-Madison said.
She's not the only one already employed.
Stefanie Thompson is already a public school teacher and says her advanced degree will enable her to become an administrator. And even if she doesn't become a principal tomorrow: "It gives me knowledge that I can give to my students now," Thompson said, "in helping them prepare for their future lives."
Aaron Jones won't be moving back in with mom. He already has a job at UALR and earned a dual major in political science and criminal justice. That may be all he needs, but Jones says his mom may lean on him to pursue a law degree.
But no worries about what he's going to do for now.
feels really good," Jones said. "I don't have to worry about
paying the bills, because I already have a job."
Three graduates approached at random. All three already have jobs.
Do they have big plans to celebrate?
"Hang out with friends and family," Jones said. "Just have a little fun."
But not too much says Pena-Madison. Celebrate now: "Then back to work in the morning."