Graphic by Tristan Ipock

After scurrying around cramming for finals, the time has come to for UTSA squirrels to scamper across the stage for a picture with a diploma place holder.

This year’s squirrel class at UTSA proves to be the largest group to participate in the fall commencement ceremony. The graduation squirrel population continues to grow, and like the average student, the inevitable question was posed. What happens now?

Communication major AJ Nuttington laughed as he responded to the much feared question: “There are a lot of things that can happen out there after college. I could end up working for NSR (National Squirrel Radio) or, if things go south, I’ll end up working for the mushroom jerky factory in my hometown; it’s a skill I already have. I guess I just have to see where this degree takes me.”

Other students aren’t as optimistic.  Many fear not finding a job that deals with their degrees. Many students have polished their portfolios of (stolen) goods in hopes that employers will be impressed with their cunning and innovative ways to supply their company.

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With many students heading to grad school or entering the work force, the issues of reality are about to set in. The comfort of the Sombrilla dorms will no longer be their dwelling.

Most future grad students will be moving to prestigious state parks to continue to climb up the educational tree. Others may move back home with their family for some time to scavenge, while others plan to travel the country and maybe save some trees and terrorize people along the way.

“I looked at my student loan balance and flipped out,” environmental science major Squirrelton Fluffernut said. “I didn’t realize how expensive college is. I come from a small farming community, and even though I have some acorns saved, they aren’t enough to start paying back my loans. Hopefully the next six months prove fruitful, and this degree will help make it rain acorns.”

However, many students look forward to finding a job with their hard-earned degrees. “The tourist industry is huge right now. I get a real kick out of seeing people enjoying themselves around the city. The best part about it is when I’m able to snatch some snacks or some paper they have in their hands. That’s a skill I learned here at UTSA that I am proud of,”  senior Fluffia Scampire commented on her hopes and experiences.

The commencement ceremony speech will be given by Presidents Squirrelmo followed by special guest, Scrat of Ice Age, who is set to inspire the graduates with his speech about perseverance.    Graduates look forward to hearing riveting speeches as they sit through two-and-a-half hours of name after name. The Alamodome is ready to house friends and family of the graduates.

The future holds many unknowns for this graduating class. Life will change, friends and acquaintances will lose contact as they go their separate ways, and the time to pay back all the acorns borrowed has finally arrived. Capsquirrels and internships have been completed. Memories of swinging on trees and avoiding being caught in the Sombrilla fountain will stay with them forever. Congratulations to the class of 2016! Go Runners!

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