Jenn Smola, Senior Staff Writer

Hundreds of students gathered for commencement at Millet Hall Dec. 16 at Millett Hall to bid farewell to their Miami University years.

Miami awarded 894 diplomas at commencement, including 89 associates, 632 bachelors, 149 masters and 17 doctorates, according to Miami’s news and public information office.

Kelsey Gross, a journalism and international studies double major, graduated this past December.

Gross graduated in under the average four years. For now, Gross is focused on her job search, she said.

“Between January and May, I’m going to be applying for jobs full time,” Gross said.

Gross said she was able to graduate in under four years because of how proactive she was about planning her schedule.

“I didn’t mess around with credit hours,” Gross said.

Lauren Kelly, like Gross, is also a journalism and international studies double major who graduated in December.

Kelly decided to stay an extra semester past the traditional four years. She is preparing to move out to Los Angeles for an internship.

“I’d ultimately like to do fashion styling and fashion journalism,” Kelly said.

She hopes that her internship may lead to a full-time position.

While graduating in under four years is typically considered “early” and graduating in over four years is considered “late,” University Registrar David Sauter said students should not think of it that way.

“‘Early’ and ‘late’ might not be the best verbiage,” Sauter said. “For example, students seeking double majors, purposefully adding opportunities such as study abroad, etc. — are not ‘late’ as much as simply ‘taking longer to graduate than four years.’ Same for ‘early’ – perhaps ramping up summer classes, coming to us with more acceptable AP scores.”

Both Gross and Kelly agreed that there are advantages to graduating in December.

“I would recommend it,” Gross said of graduating in December, adding that in her case, she still gets to enjoy a college lifestyle with her friends while applying for jobs without worrying about classes.

December graduation can be advantageous for immediate employment seekers as well, Kelly pointed out.

“(Employers) want people to start in January,” Kelly said, and December graduates have that ability she said.

Marketing major Jillian Fleming also graduated at December commencement, and agrees that it is beneficial to the job search.

“An advantage of graduating in December would definitely be the job market,” Fleming said. She was able to take advantage of employers looking to hire in December, and now has a job with an e-business consulting firm in the Dayton area.

Fleming, who graduated in under four years, said she strongly recommends December commencement, which she said has both good and bad aspects.

“It can be somewhat anticlimactic,” Gross said, pointing out that there’s not as much hype in December as there generally is before spring commencement.

Fleming added that despite having a job, it’s difficult leaving Miami friends behind as they finish their education.

“Enjoy the time you have left,” Fleming said, adding that she wished she could do it all over. “Miami was a great experience.”