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Penn State Summer Commencement Brings Joy, Pride, Sadness and Relief

by on August 16, 2014 4:00 PM

Like many graduates, Kim Berslin was nervous about walking across the stage at her Penn State commencement ceremony on Saturday – but for a different reason than most.

With a job already lined up that she starts next week, she wasn’t nervous about trying to find something to fit her rehabilitation and human services degree. She wasn’t even nervous about the transition from student to young professional.

“I really don’t want to fall down on stage,” she says, gesturing to her heels.

Over 3,000 students received their degrees on Saturday - including over 700 master's degrees and almost 300 doctoral degrees, according to a news release from the university.

Liz McCabe, sister to recent graduate Daniel Curry, says Saturday’s ceremony – though a joyous event that filled her with pride – also made her sad in a way. Now that her brother was graduating, she’d no longer be able to mess with him by sending him Ohio State postcards in the mail.

“I don’t know how to describe this; I’m feeling a little bit of everything,” Curry says. “I’m sad to leave, but at the same time I’m excited to start my future.”

Though he doesn’t have a job lined up yet, he says he feels confident that his studies in information sciences and technology have well-prepared him to find a job in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Though he looks forward to going home, he says he'll the culture of Penn State and going to football games with his friends.

Fellow graduate Michael Rapp agreed, saying he would miss sitting in the always-energetic student section of football games. Though the former political science student will stay in the area for his job in the office of State Sen. Jake Corman (which means he still plans on attending games), he says it just won’t be the same sitting in another part of the stands.

Rapp’s mother, Judy, says she feels “incredibly relieved” to watch her son graduate. Rapp’s graduation on Saturday completed a family tradition: he was the last of three brothers to graduate from Penn State.

“I feel ready to graduate, but this whole time has gone by so quickly,” Rapp says. “It feels like I just started yesterday.”

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Michael Martin Garrett is StateCollege.com's general assignment reporter, an alumni of Penn State and the bassist for local indie rock band Sun Whales. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelMGarrett.
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