As graduation approaches, we seniors are feeling a lot of emotions. We’re feeling excited to start a new chapter (with or without a job). We’re feeling liberated at the thought of no homework, no deadlines, and no stumbling out of Bobst as the sun rises, bleary eyed and confused about why the morning is attacking your exhausted, baggy eyeballs. We’re also feeling nervous about adulthood, joblessness, and that horrible, horrible place: the REAL WORLD.
Graduation day is a day to take all of these feelings and shove them in a deep, dark corner of your consciousness – the same one that holds the memories of your first kisses, the time you fell asleep on the subway for four hours , or the cringe worthy outfits we wore on the first bright-eyed day of NYU. It’s a day for celebration and acceptance – a moment to take everything you’ve accomplished in the past four years and wrap it in a big fat red bow, slap some purple glitter on it, and parade it around for grandma, grandpa, and the entire 38,391-person student body to see.
Seniors each receive three tickets to the all-school graduation at Yankee Stadium – a number that is frustratingly low for those of us with families which are so large and enthusiastic that they are willing to cram into your tiny two-bedroom like sardines for a week straight. But there are those of us who, for one reason or another, will not be attending or will only need a few of these tickets.
So what to do? We receive these tickets for free, but they are really the summation of four years’ worth of tuition – and some could argue that they come with a price tag of $200,000 (plus the absurd price of a sandwich every day on campus — $7 for some turkey and two pieces of bread, am I right???). There’s an obvious incentive to sell these tickets, especially when graduates are willing to pay exorbitant amounts (we’ve heard reports of $200 and up). We all have to pay rent, we all have to pay the subway hike, and we all have to buy shitty $7 sandwiches.
At NYU, it’s obvious that you won’t know most of the 4,000-plus people you’re graduating with. And we all know that NYU isn’t a school to attend if you’re looking for a university-wide community. But that doesn’t mean that graduation shouldn’t be a day that you enjoy with your class, relishing in the four years of hard work that you all have accomplished together.
There is something to be said for the value worth of camaraderie. No, you don’t know everyone you’re graduating with. But you know that they’ve been through — the same four-year experience that you have, with its ups, downs, its WSP fountain pukings. And your fellow graduating students shouldn’t be forced to pay for their loved ones to witness the biggest, hardest, and most expensive accomplishment your or they have ever achieved. You didn’t have to pay for these tickets yourself, so it’s not like you’re re-selling something you bought but couldn’t use. Allowing NYU to turn you into a capitalist instrument that only works through the system of supply and demand is essentially bowing down to everything that higher education shouldn’t stand for.
This year, Local has contributed a lot of reportage on widespread resistance to the university’s expansion. We reject the tuition price tag (which is, by global standards, exorbitant,) we protest the costly additions, and we constantly call for more financial aid. While ticket prices are small beans in comparison to all these, they are nonetheless another expense that we have to shoulder.
Other than condoms and the occasional dum-dum in the Rubin lobby, commencement tickets are the one thing NYU hasn’t charged us for. So why are we suddenly collaborating with the very administration that we’ve been challenging for so long?
If the money you get from selling graduation tickets helps you to become the next major humanitarian superstar, then maybe you can argue that it was worth it. But if it goes towards ten bottles of two-buck-chuck or next year’s Coachella tickets, then it’s not worth the price of capitalizing off your peers.