When I was accepted to Nyack College my parents noticed the Honors Program and suggested that I apply. I really didn’t want to apply at first: in high school I had been a part of the National Honor Society, which entailed taking more rigorous classes and doing more extracurricular work, and I expected the Honors Program to be similar. The National Honor Society brought me a lot of benefits, but out of pure laziness I resisted doing honors-level work as I moved on to college. I reluctantly applied because of the scholarship it offered and the “graduated with honors” I’d be able to put on a resume. When I received a phone call from Dr. Gates, the Director of the Honors Program, I found out that I’d been accepted and I learned some of the benefits of being a part of Honors. I soon realized that joining the Honors Program was one of the best college decisions I’d made thus far.
The Honors Program at Nyack College is serious about helping others and serving the community. The first activity I took part in with the Honors group was a trip to do community service at a rehabilitation center, which was a fulfilling experience. We serve the Nyack community in a number of ways, such as hosting the Hunger Banquet each year.
We do a good amount of traveling as well. Each year we go on an honors retreat, where we get to know one another, spend time with God, and have fun. We also take trips to significant American cities such as Baltimore, Boston, and Washington D.C. We attend a play on Broadway every year, and we go on a Global Service-Learning trip overseas every two years.
The Honors core curriculum is rigorous, but it is well worth the extra work. We are privileged to take courses that give us insights into many different cultures, ways of thinking, and ways of learning. These courses challenge us academically and improve our reasoning and comprehension. Once you get used to it, the challenging curriculum is actually enjoyable.
The community service is important, the traveling is fun, and the academics are outstanding. But the faculty and students who make up the Honors Program at Nyack College are truly incredible. Brilliant professors regularly make themselves available to us so that we can pick their brains and learn from them. My fellow Honors students are friendly, passionate about learning, and love the Lord. I’m grateful to be a part of the Honors Program at Nyack College and to be surrounded by such incredible people.
Much of your work as a college student consists of writing papers. Sometimes writing a good paper can seem impossible. You might ask questions like “How do I start?” or “What do I write about?” When you first get to college, you might not know what you’re expected to write for college as opposed to high school. First off, take a deep breath and relax. It’s not as difficult as it seems. If you start early, take it slow, and get help you can write a great paper. Here are a few pointers to help you figure out how to write a good paper.
When you are assigned a paper, your professor will usually provide you with a sheet that details the requirements for the paper. This will be your most helpful tool in writing. Read and understand exactly what it is that the professor wants you to write. If the assignment is to write a character analysis, don’t write a book review. If you’re asked to do a research paper, don’t write an opinion paper. If you’re uncertain about what kind of paper you’re supposed to write, ask the professor in class or during his or her office hours to explain it in more detail. Understanding the assignment details will help you to create a strong and effective thesis.
One of the most important parts of paper-writing is developing a strong thesis. A good thesis is composed of two parts: what you’re trying to prove and why you say it’s true. For example, “Writing papers is an effective teaching tool for college students because it causes them to develop critical-thinking and communicational skills.” This thesis statement says what I’m proving (writing is good for students), and why it’s true (because it develops skills). Now in my paper I would give details and examples explaining how writing develops critical-thinking and communicational skills.
Supporting your thesis with details and examples is another important part of writing a good paper. You need to be able to back up everything you say with evidence; don’t make any claims that you can’t support. Any information, facts, statistics, example, or any other kind of evidence you bring into your paper should relate directly to your thesis. Filling your writing with “fluff” that isn’t helping to prove your point will make your paper weaker.
These are just a few rules that will help you focus, give you direction, and make writing easier. There is much more to learn about writing than I can write here, but there are plenty of people; professors, tutors, Writing Center Consultants, and more; that would love to teach you as much as you’re willing to learn about writing. When you’re given a paper to write, don’t panic. Start with these simple rules and you will be on your way to writing a good paper.
As a Christian I value the Word of God very highly. I see Scripture as the moral and spiritual standard for people’s lives, relationships with each other, and relationship with God. But, in order to properly apply the standard of Scripture to our lives we must first understand and appreciate the Bible. That is the primary goal of the Bible Department at Nyack College: to do our best to understand and appreciate the things that God has communicated to humanity through Scripture. The Bible Department takes an objective, comprehensive approach to studying the Bible, theology, and Christian history. If you are passionate about God’s Word, then the Bible Department welcomes you!
The Bible Department is a subset of the College of Bible and Christian Ministry. The department’s mission statement says that it, “seeks to assist Nyack students in their intellectual and spiritual formation by moving them toward competency in reading, interpreting and applying the Bible and in integrating its teaching into their worldview and personal lives.” The mission of the Bible Department comes in two parts: theory and practice. Much of a scholastic career with this department consists of thinking, reading, and writing, but all of that study goes toward practical application of what is learned in class. Being a Bible major is much more than thinking and studying; it is life-changing.
Aside from increasing your knowledge of Scripture and strengthening your relationship with God, studying as a Bible major will prepare you for continuing education and a number of career paths. By the time they graduate, Bible majors are well-prepared to study for master’s-level degrees such as the Master of Divinity or a Master of Arts in a biblical field. These degrees would put you in a position to apply for a doctorate degree. Being a Bible major also prepares you for ministry by equipping you with the knowledge and skills necessary to preach and teach the Word of God.
The Bible Department’s primary faculty in Rockland are Dr. Stephen Bennett, Dr. Frank Chan, Dr. Elio Cuccaro, and Dr. Amy Davis. In Manhattan the primary Bible Department faculty are Dr. David Emanuel, Dr. Thomas Donworth, Jeffery Garcia, Dr. Dongsu Kim, Dr. R. Stephen Notley, and Dr. Steven Ware. I have met almost all of these professors and had class with many of them; they are all qualified professors and brilliant individuals. It has been an incredible to study under such accomplished theologians.
I feel privileged to be a part of the Bible Department at Nyack College. I am blessed to be able to major in a subject that I enjoy studying. Scripture is not dull or boring; it is powerful and enlightening. Everyone who is serious about studying the Word of God is welcome to join the Bible department in that endeavor.
Papers make up a large portion of the requirement for many college courses. Writing is one of my favorite things to do, so I really don’t mind having to write papers for college. But I realize that my opinion of writing is an uncommon one. For some students, writing is the thing they dread most about college. Some people are unsure of where to begin with a paper, and others are unconfident in the quality of their finished work. Thankfully there is a place where Nyack students can get help with every stage of the writing process. The Writing Center at Nyack College is committed to giving students quality assistance with writing. There is a center at both the Rockland and the Manhattan campuses where undergraduate and ATS students are helped. I have worked at the Writing Center as a writing consultant for more than two years, and while there I have seen incredible advances in students’ writing abilities.
The most important thing to know about the Writing Center is that our primary focus is the writer; the paper is secondary. Yes, we aim to work with you to improve the quality of the paper that you bring us, but our primary goal is to teach you skills and methods that will improve the quality of all your papers. We will not fix your papers for you, but we will sit with you and go over the paper’s strengths and weaknesses while pointing out areas that need improvement. We hope that by the time you leave the Center you feel more confident in your abilities as a writer.
At the Writing Center, the consultants will assist any student of any discipline with papers from any class at any stage of the writing process (can you find the keyword?). We offer a free service to any student of Nyack College or Alliance Theological Seminary regardless of the student’s major or academic standing. Our staff consists of students from many different disciplines, and even if your consultant is outside of your major, he or she is well trained to assist you with your paper. It does not matter if your paper is complete, in a draft form, or hasn’t been started; we offer assistance with any stage of writing. Even if you feel confident about your writing, you will still benefit from another’s perspective on your work.
If you feel overwhelmed by all of the papers you have due this semester, come to the Writing Center for help. If you feel confident and prepared to handle all of your papers, you are still welcome at the Center. At the Rockland Campus we are located above the Bailey Library, and in Manhattan we are located in Wilson Library next to the ESL/Computer Lab. We look forward to seeing you!
Personal Spiritual Formation is a class that teaches ministers- and theologians-in-training how to address their own spirituality so that they are able to address the spiritualities of others. Like every Bible, ministry, and ICS major at Nyack College, I am required to take Personal Spiritual Formation. Being that it’s my last semester and I haven’t filled that requirement yet, I’m taking the class this semester. I heard mixed reviews about PSF; some said it was the most enlightening class they had ever taken, but others said that it was silly and pointless. To be honest, I had been dreading PSF ever since I first heard about it. I thought that it would be a group therapy session where we would be graded on how much we cried. After going to the first class session I realized that I was completely wrong about PSF. For those Bible, ministry, or ICS majors who are not looking forward to this class, let me explain what to expect from Personal Spiritual Formation.
Each class session consists of two halves: the lecture and the small groups. The lecture addresses subtopics of Spiritual Formation, gives biblical perspective on the issues addressed, and provides techniques to help solve these issues. For the first week the lecture was conducted by Ron and Wanda Walborn, the primary instructors for the class. The subjects that they addressed were the role of God and the individual in Personal Spiritual Formation and the requirement of honesty in the process of Spiritual Formation. I was surprised at how much content and educational material there is at the base of this class. Clearly it is much more a group therapy session. Though I disagree with a few assertions made by the professors, their class notes were well put together, well thought out, and based on Scripture. I appreciated the amount of scholastic effort put into creating the lectures.
As explained by the leader of my small group, the small group portion of the class is meant to take what we learned about in the lecture and unpack it on a personal level. Normally I am very selective about the people with whom I share my personal issues, but I decided on the way to my first small group session that I would be open and transparent in order to make the most out of the class. I was afraid that I would be expected to share my innermost thoughts on the first day, but my spiritual director explained that we would simply get to know the members of our group and establish trust before delving into the “heavy stuff.” Needless to say, I was very appreciative of this. From what I could tell, the spiritual directors are trained to be tactful and attentive during small group.
If I had known the truth about what to expect from PSF, I would have looked forward to enrolling in the class. It is a great opportunity to develop the ability to address those things from your past that will negatively affect your life, relationships, and ministry. It also equips you to face future problems with firm faith and a sound mind. Now that I know what a great experience it will be, I am actually excited about taking Personal Spiritual Formation this semester.
My GS-L trip to Israel was amazing, but it was not my first time visiting the biblical lands. I traveled through Israel once before with a church group and did some of the same things that I did with the GS-L group. One of the things I remember most about my first visit was taking a cable car to the top of Masada, a plateau with a lot of significance in Jewish history. The cable car was a smooth, air-conditioned ride to the top of the plateau, which stands more than a thousand feet above the surrounding ground level. There is another way up Masada, though: the Snake Path. It is a rough, winding road through the cliffs around Masada. I wanted to take this route the first time I was there, but because our group had many elderly people the majority voted that we take the cable car. When I heard that our GS-L group would be climbing up Masada early enough to see the sunrise from the top, I was extremely excited.
We started out around four-thirty in the morning, drove twenty minutes to the site, and began our climb. After only a few minutes everyone started to realize how out-of-shape we all are. We were breathing heavy and we started to sweat even though it was fairly cool outside. After nearly forty minutes of climbing we finally made it to the top. Our timing was almost perfect. Within a few minutes we viewed a beautiful sunrise over the Moab Mountains in the distance. Next Dr. Notley and Professor Garcia, our group leaders, explained the historical significance of the site. It was first used by Herod the Great as a luxurious fortified palace. Not long after Herod’s successors abandoned it Jewish rebels who opposed Roman rule used it as a fortress. The Romans successfully sieged the fortress, but the rebels killed themselves and their families in order to avoid admitting defeat by their enemies. This event in Jewish history receives mixed sentiments; some see it as a symbol of valiant Israeli independence, but others consider it an example of Israel’s isolationist policy. The history lesson was very interesting, and the view from the top of Masada was unbelievable.
Near the end of our visit to Masada I was disappointed to find out that we had taken the easier of two snake paths. We had gone around the back of the plateau and taken the shorter, less treacherous route since some of our group would not have been capable of taking the other Path. Instead of viewing this as a disappointment, I saw it as a challenge and a reason to return to Israel. I made a large step in conquering Masada, and one day I will return and finish the job by climbing the real Snake Path.
Thirty-five students of Nyack College, including myself, began the new year in the Holy Land. From January fifth to the seventeenth I joined the GS-L trip to Israel. Our group was lead by Dr. R. Steven Notley and Professor Jeffery Garcia; both are professors at Nyack’s/ATS’s Manhattan campus. We were also joined by Dr. Carlo, one of the deans at ATS in Manhattan. After nearly fifteen hours of travel we began to explore the attractions that Israel offers to tourists and religious pilgrims. We were able to see and experience many biblical sites and receive thorough explanations of the connections between the site and the scriptural text from the professors who acted as our guides for the trip. Not only was our journey educational, but it was spiritually enlightening as well.
The professors who guided us are qualified and knowledgeable about the biblical lands. Dr. Notley lived in Israel for sixteen years and received his PhD from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has been leading tours of Israel for over two decades. Professor Garcia is currently pursuing his PhD and is familiar with the biblical lands because of his experience leading tour groups throughout Israel. Dr. Carlo has been on multiple trips to Israel, so he was able to offer a lot of supplemental information. These three professors educated us on the geography, history, and culture of the places we visited. In many ways these site visits changed the way I read certain parts of Scripture.
This is a picture of me standing on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea at the port of Caesarea. Caesarea is a port city built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus Caesar. It served as the place of residence for the pontiff of the province of Judea in the Roman Empire. We toured the enormous, elaborate first-century palace complex located near Caesarea’s harbor. When the Apostle Paul was imprisoned for two years, it was in this complex. The remnant of the palace complex lead scholars to believe that Paul’s detainment was not as grueling as is often assumed.
In this picture some of our group is exploring the ruins of Omrit, the excavation site of a temple dedicated to emperor worship. This site did not have scriptural significance, but it was very interesting to learn about the sites history. Like Caesarea, the temple at Omrit was built by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus Caesar.
Here Mitchell Woodford and I are posing with Dr. Notley and Professor Garcia in a boat sailing across the Sea of Galilee (which is more commonly known in Israel as the Lake of Galilee or the Lake of Gennesaret). This is where Jesus and Peter walked on water and where Jesus calmed the storm. It is much too small to be considered a sea (about thirteen miles long and eight miles wide), which is why it is referred to as a Lake by the residents. Being able to see and sail on the Lake gives me a more realistic picture of Jesus’ activities on and around it.
The stories you read in the Bible come alive when you are able to see the land and the culture that surround them. Not only were we able to learn about the history of Israel but we were educated about the nation’s current status as well. It is vibrant, lively, and culturally rich, but there is a lot of religious and political unrest. In many ways Israel, and especially Jerusalem, lacks peace. The Bible mandates that we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and this trip made the peace of Jerusalem a legitimate concern for me. I thank Nyack College and the GS-L program for giving me the opportunity to travel to Israel.
Every year during Winterim Nyack College sends groups of students to different parts of the world to study different regions and cultures. These trips are called Global Service-Learning trips (Or GS-L Trips). They are led by professors and faculty members that are very familiar with the region to which the group is traveling, and they are both educational and exciting. The trips are offered at a reasonable price and are most often taken for course credit. I am fortunate enough to be able to go on a GS-L trip to Israel during the Winterim of the 2013-2014 school year. I am looking forward to exploring the biblical lands and studying the culture of its inhabitants. Here are some tips that helped me to prepare for my GS-L trip.
If you are considering going on a GS-L trip, then start planning for it early on in the school year. There are various deadlines that must be met for applications and payments, and you do not want to be caught unaware or unprepared when the time comes to deal with these things. The prices for the GS-L trips are very reasonable, but they still cost a significant amount of money. Sit down with your financial aid counselor to decide whether or not the trip is in your budget and what the best way is to pay for it. The office of Student Financial Services is very helpful for students with financial concerns about the GS-L trips. Keep in mind that you can help to raise money for your trip by asking for financial support from local churches and businesses. Thankfully I was able to make each payment for my trip to Israel, and Student Financial Services helped me through every step of the way.
The most important thing to remember when preparing for a GS-L trip is that it is a class. This means that pen-and-paper assignments will no doubt be incorporated with the GS-L trip experience. This may involve work before, during, and/or after stepping onto the plane. Before going to Israel I was required to read a book, write a report, and study a series of maps. The good thing about all of this work, though, is that it familiarizes the traveler with the ins and outs of the land to which they travel. Through the readings and exercises I did for my Israel trip I became very familiar with the geographical layout of the biblical lands. If you are planning to go on a GS-L trip, do not forget that the trip is not a vacation and that you will be doing real work and learning while in other countries. Do not let this discourage you from taking the opportunity to go on one of these trips, though, because the work that they entail is far outweighed by the incredible experience that the trips are.
It is one thing to read about a civilization in a book or an article, but visiting and exploring that civilization is something entirely different. To have a hands-on experience at a sight that may be read of in a text book or in Scripture makes the place more memorable and more meaningful. Global Service-Learning offers this opportunity to have a hands-on experience.
I have never been a big fan of clichés, but sometimes they are very fitting for my situation. The phrase “leap of faith” applies to my life in a few different ways for the new year. I am taking a lot of big new steps in 2014 that require a good amount of risk and faith. When I think of this phrase I imagine myself standing on a ledge with another ledge in front of me and a chasm in between. The chasm seems slightly too wide to jump across, but on the other ledge is an opportunity that will bring me success. If I do not leap, I will remain stagnant in a situation that I have outgrown. My resolution for 2014 is to leap over every chasm to the opportunities that God has set on the ledge in front of me.
The first leap of faith that I will have to take this year is transitioning between jobs. Until now my main concern in deciding on a job was getting a paycheck. Although payment is still important to me, it is no longer my main concern. I have realized that when looking for a job I need to look for opportunities that work toward my career path and toward God’s calling for my life. I do not yet know what that will look like, but I know that it will require transitioning out of my current job at a doctor’s office. I have enjoyed my time working there and it has taught me many important lessons, but I feel that my time there is through. It will take faith to leave a comfortable job situation, but I am looking forward to exploring new opportunities.
The next leap of faith for me will come after graduation. Transitioning between undergraduate and graduate school can seem like a scary thing because of the uncertainty involved; the chasm seems wide in this situation. The finances, stress factors, and time management involved with moving to a new place and taking on a new educational endeavor might seem daunting, but once I leap the chasm will start to seem smaller and smaller.
The last major leap of 2014 will be getting married. I will be getting married soon after graduation, and this will be a major change in my life. I am confident and excited about marriage, but I realize that it will take hard work and commitment to make our marriage successful. Marriage requires a leaping over the chasm of doubt and uncertainty onto the ledge of love and commitment. I am ready to take this leap of faith.
One thing that 2013 taught me is that when God calls me to something, it will usually require a leap of faith. Many opportunities that I took this year did not seem absolutely certain to be successful, but these opportunities would not wait for me while I was uncertain. Whenever I leaped for a good opportunity, I either found success or learned valuable lessons in failure. Whenever I was hesitant, the opportunity passed me by. This year I plan on taking all of the leaps of faith that offer opportunities for me to succeed.
This is only my third year at Nyack College, but I will be graduating this upcoming May with a four year degree. I have been fortunate enough to save the time and money that would be required to complete two of the eight semesters that would usually be required to graduate from Nyack. It required a lot of extra work, but the rewards are worth it. This article is geared more towards people early in their college career or nearing the end of their time in high school, but anyone still involved in education can benefit from it. Graduating college early may prove difficult, but in the end the time and money you will save will make your efforts worthwhile.
The most important thing to remember when trying to graduate early is to get started early thinking about what is required to graduate. If possible, you should start thinking about college credits while you are still in high school. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses and other classes through my community college in order to earn college credits. Thankfully, all of them transferred to Nyack College. Earning credits like these can lighten your load when you actually get to college. Even if you are not offered the opportunity to take AP courses, there are often opportunities to earn college credits through your community college in other ways.
Next, decide early on what direction you want to take your education and where you want to end up by the time graduation arrives. Indecisiveness can add extra years and classes onto your college career. When you switch your major midway through your time in college, it requires you to do extra work to catch up to those who have been in your new major since freshman year. One of my favorite phrases is “Pick it and stick it.” In this situation that means to pick a major and stick with it until graduation. That means that you will need to make a wise decision when picking your major.
Finally, you will need to work hard. You may need to do a few eighteen credit semesters or overload on credits for a few semesters in order to meet your credit requirements in less than four years. Three of my six semesters at Nyack were eighteen credit semesters. You may also want to take classes during summer or winter break in order to get ahead with credits. Meet with your academic advisor to figure out how many credits you will need to complete in order to graduate and how quickly you can complete them.
Graduating early can be stressful, but it will be rewarding. If you are able, get started planning for graduation early on in your educational career. If you are already behind, do not be discouraged. There are still ways to catch up and possibly get ahead. Whatever you do, do not be dismayed. Determination and careful planning will put you in a position to succeed in your education.
Although graduation is a satisfying and fulfilling experience, it presents the problem of deciding what to do next. In any academic field there are a variety of post-graduate paths to choose from, such as internships, full time employment, and graduate school. With graduation quickly approaching, I have been adamant about figuring out what I will do with the next step of my educational career. I plan on becoming a college professor, so I will need to obtain my masters and doctorate degree in order to teach at the collegiate level. This means that the next step for me is applying for grad school. I have already submitted my applications and am awaiting responses. If you are thinking of applying to grad school, here is some advice that will help to guide you in your application experience.
Which school is the best for you?
So you know why you should go to grad school. The first order of business in applying to graduate schools is choosing which schools to apply to. Things to consider when making this decision are the reputation, mission, location, and cost of the school. You should want to be a part of an academic institution that has a good reputation and high standing within your field. You should also look at the school’s mission statement to see if its views, goals, and ambitions align with yours. Be sure that the schools you apply to are located in a place in which you would not mind living for a few years. Consider not only the cost of attending the school, but the cost of applying. Graduate school applications can range from 50 to 75 dollars, which is a reason to be selective about where you apply. I would advise against applying to schools that you cannot envision yourself attending, so be sure that every school you apply to is a legitimate option.
Get Together Your Paperwork
The next thing to do is to get started! It is easy to procrastinate when it comes to grad school applications, especially when the deadlines are far in the future. Do not allow the deadlines to sneak up on you and cause you to rush your applications. There will usually be two deadlines: a priority deadline and a regular deadline. When you apply before the priority deadline you are put into the running for merit-based scholarships, which are often given out on a first come, first served basis. You will want to get your applications in as soon as possible in order to have the best chance for the most scholarships. Also, be sure to ask your recommenders for their recommendations far in advance, as they may take a long time to get to your recommendation. You do not want your application held up by a busy professor or professional connection.
Thankfully, my application process has gone very smoothly. I found three schools that fit my academic plans, started early, and got all my applications done in good time. I made the priority deadline, and my recommenders submitted their recommendations right on schedule. Now comes the fun part: the waiting. It feels good to have all of the hard work out of the way, but now I am anxious to hear back from the schools I applied to. Hopefully this advice will help grad school applicants to be at ease as they apply.
It doesn’t seem like all too long ago that I first walked onto the Nyack College campus during orientation as a boisterous, overconfident freshman ready to conquer anything and everything that college had to offer. In the three years since that day my confidence has not been quelled, but it has been strengthened and matured. As I start getting ready to graduate and enter my last semester as a student of Nyack College, I find that I need that confidence more and more. Just as in my senior year of high school, I can feel “senioritis” lurking in the back of my mind. If you are getting ready to graduate, it can be difficult to stay focused and finish strong, but with determination and attention to detail you can be prepared to graduate when the time comes.
The first thing to do when you are getting ready to graduate is to make sure that you will be able to take all of the classes that you need for your major. Connect with Registrar to verify what classes you still have left to take and to make sure that they are offered in the time you have remaining until graduation. I had an issue with this before the Fall 2013 semester began, but thankfully Registrar contacted me when the issue arose. Because I failed to verify what classes I still needed, I registered for classes that I didn’t need and didn’t register for classes that I did need. For those reading this whom are soon to graduate, it is better to be proactive about what classes you still need to take so that you don’t run into the problems that I did.
You may find that the classes you still need are not being offered when you need them. I ran into this problem as well. There are two ways to remedy this: independent studies and modifications of program. With independent studies, you can take required courses that have been offered previously when they are not being offered currently. If you are considering an independent study, be aware that they entail more self-motivation and a lot more writing than a class taught in the classroom. A modification of program, or MOP, is when one course fulfills your requirement to take a different course. For instance, if you are required to take biology but biology is not being offered again until after your planned date of graduation, you may be able to obtain an MOP to make a different science class fulfill your biology requirement. Keep in mind that you need the approval of both your academic advisor and your department head in order to get an MOP.
Getting ready to graduate requires careful preparation. The most important thing is to be proactive and not let “senioritis” get the best of you. Thankfully, I feel confident and ready to graduate. Be sure that you are ready, too.