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Graduating seniors replace May Term trips to graduate on time

FILE: Westminster College students hiking the San Rafael Swell through the Muddy Creek May 2017. Seniors graduating in May 2020 who previously planned to take a May Term trip to earn final credits are rearranging their schedules in order to graduate on time. (Photo courtesy: Leah Hapke)

Seniors from Westminster College who previously planned to take a trip during May Term to earn final class credits are rearranging their schedules in order to graduate on time. Some students are scrambling to find classes after learning their trips would be cancelled mid-March, looking for credits that will satisfy their degree requirements.

Emma Thompson, a senior graduating with a degree in technical theatre, said she needed her May Term Experience credit in order to fulfill her minor in Spanish. With that trip now cancelled, Thompson will be finding those credit hours elsewhere through two elective courses.

“It’s a little frustrating because I was planning on already taking time away from a potential job or looking from jobs to just have the time to myself,” Thompson said. “For some self exploration and internal reflection on everything.”

Thompson said she was planning to trek the Camino de Santiago during May Term, where she was hoping to deepen her understanding and knowledge of the Spanish language. This would be more beneficial than taking online courses, Thompson thought.

Westminster’s administration announced it would be cancelling all domestic and national May Term experiences March 11, one day before moving all Spring semester classes online. One week later, the news broke that classes would be held remotely through the end of May Term.

Along with in-person classes, all campus events — including commencement, senior banquets and art performances — were postponed or canceled in response to CDC guidelines and the governor’s directive.

“I’m really bummed about the Honors banquet,” Thompson said. “It’s not the best and I’m sad about graduation.”

While commencement is still planned to be held in person, there are no updates on when that day will be, according to an exclusive Forum interview with President Dobkin April 28.

Some portions of the May Term trip cost has been refunded, Thompson said, aside from the nonrefundable deposit and other expenses out of their control. Luckily, Thompson said her trip planned to go through Delta airlines which provided refunds of the trip.

Other airlines may only provide trip vouchers, allowing trip-goers to experience the area another time. But for students planning to go for a class, that doesn’t always work as well, according to Thompson.

Overall, Thompson said she had paid roughly $3,800 total for the May Term Experience — with a guarantee to receive $3,300 of it back.

On the bright side, Thompson said she was able to find a job to jumpstart her career after graduation — something she previously planned to put off until after she returned from Spain. For now, she said she’ll be working and finishing her degree from home.

“So, now I’m literally stuck in quarantine,” Thompson said. “But I am privileged in the sense that I’m healthy and I get to be with my partner. […] But it’s hard that this whole thing I was planning on doing is cancelled.”


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Cami Mondeaux is a senior communication major with a minor in sociology. She’s worked in journalism for three years completing several internships in radio as well as a print internship stationed in Washington, D.C. Now, Cami works as a reporter and digital content producer for KSL NewsRadio covering breaking news and local government. When she doesn’t have her nose stuck in the headlines, Cami enjoys listening to podcasts, drinking iced coffee and continuing her quest to find the tastiest burrito in Salt Lake City.

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