December graduates examine what being a Wildcat really means

K-State Communications and Marketing and Carly Dickter
More than 1,800 K-State students graduated in December. (Photo: K-State Communications and Marketing)

Kansas State University fall commencement ceremonies were Friday, Dec. 13, on the Salina and Manhattan campuses, and Saturday, Dec. 14, on the Manhattan campus.

The university awarded more than 1,400 bachelor's degrees, nearly 300 master's degrees and 90 doctorates, and 16 associate degrees. About 150 candidates for graduation are earning their degrees through the university's distance education program. As the more than 1,800 graduates join the alumni ranks, they take with them fond memories of K-State.

Editor's note: The Alumni Association communications staff asked students in the fall semester public relations writing class at K-State's A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications to write articles on what students will remember or value the most from their K-State experience. Following is an article written by Carly Dickter from her interviews with four graduating seniors

You Know You’re a Wildcat When…
by Carly Dickter

1. Waking up each morning, you open your closet, and decide which shade of purple you’ll wear today.
2. You’ve traced your lower back pain to the hundreds of time-outs and pregames spent Wabashing. 
3. Your favorite treat is a double scoop of Purple Pride from Call Hall on a warm afternoon.
4. You’ve been kissed in the stacks at Hale Library.
5. You’d rather watch the New Year’s ball drop in the Little Apple than in the Big Apple. 

Whether it is the gallons of coffee consumed in Hale Library, the Fight Song you can’t get out of your head, or that warm feeling you get as the KS Hill peaks into your view as you're driving along Fort Riley Boulevard; there are certain experiences we all share as Wildcats. But what about the K-State experience is most precious? 

Upon interviewing four graduating seniors on what they value the most about their time at K-State, it is no surprise that the anchoring theme in their comments is the idea of family. 

Jake Pritchard, senior in finance, appreciates the feel of family in the atmosphere of our campus.

“I am so grateful to be a part of a university where you walk on campus and see so many students dressed in purple with as much passion and pride as ours,” Pritchard said.

Bill Snyder Family Stadium is one of those K-State sites where many K-Staters feel that sense of family. Pre-law senior, Collin Huerter, described it as “that energy and sense of belonging isn't checked at the gate on your way home; you're a part of something bigger. The experiences, traditions, and emotions are what bind us together.”

Erin Poppe, master's student in public administration, said, “K-State helped build me a foundation of professional and personal support that I am so grateful for.” 

Senior in political science, Macy Warburton also values the support she has received from her professors. She said, “They have truly epitomized, "K-State family" for me by showing authentic care while also pushing and challenging me to grow on a daily basis."

For K-Staters, many of the fondest memories are from times spent on campus as students. These are the experiences that confirm the phrases, “You know you’re a Wildcat when…” 

What this year’s seniors are taking away from their experiences as K-Staters is the overarching phrase, “you know you’re a Wildcat when K-State means family,” and family is forever. 

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