By Kerry Steinhofer, Copy Editor

A cross-cultural engagement experience, or the CCE 073 course, is a requirement for any Asbury student to graduate. There are students who fulfill this requirement well before their graduation date, while there are a number of panicked seniors who are now realizing their time has come, but only having a short amount of time to complete it. I am one of those panicked ones.

“A rather small percentage of students don’t end up fulfilling this prior to graduation,” said Director of GEO Tina Smith, who explained that not fulfilling the required cross-cultural engagement causes problems for students. “Technically, they don’t receive their diplomas if they don’t complete this academic requirement,” said Smith. “Students aren’t considered graduated if they don’t do CCE 073.”

When you graduate from college, you need your diploma for your chosen career. There have been students who have not completed the requirement, contact the Global Engagement Office within a year after graduation and ask to complete the requirement because they need a diploma for their employer. To avoid uncomfortable situations with your future employer, it is a wise decision to complete the requirement before graduation, or at least during the summer following. You will discover how valuable your diploma is, especially if you don’t have one.

“I’m not necessarily pessimistic about the whole CCE [073] thing, but I certainly don’t want it to hold me back from graduating on time and starting a career,” said senior Gabe Willison, who has not yet completed his requirement.

“Typically, by graduation time, we’re usually at 92 to 95 percent completion rate for seniors,” said Smith. At the end of the 2014 to 2015 academic year, there was a 95.9 percent completion for seniors who were graduating.

For this academic year, there are approximately 98 seniors out of 320, which is 30.6% of the class, who have yet to complete this requirement.

“I haven’t had the money to do [my cross-cultural experience],” said senior Meghan Martin.

This is only one of several reasons as to why students wait until the last minute to complete the requirement. Traveling is expensive, and not everyone has the extra funds to pay for the cost of their trip. Timing can be another issue with completing the requirement.

“I had a full-time job the first two summers during college, and then an internship this past summer,” said Willison. Then there is also the issue of just not knowing where to go or when to go, so students find themselves putting it off as long as they can.

“Senior year just crept up on me,” said Willison. “I guess I was hoping that an opportunity would present itself, which was kind of silly. I also worried about falling behind a semester by studying abroad, since I’ve seen a growing number of students who have to stay an extra semester.”

“Don’t wait until your senior year to go,” said Martin. “Find something that helps you see who God is and what He is doing in the world.”

If you are a current senior and are having a difficult time coming up with ideas to fulfill this requirement, Smith encourages students to come to their office and meet with her or Rosanna Willhite. “It’ll be much easier for us to help you figure out how to complete the requirement if you come to us sooner than later,” said Smith. “We can help guide you towards an opportunity or help you decide between options.”

There are several opportunities for students to fulfill the experience. The experience can be met by completing a study abroad session for a summer or semester, joining a travel course, a short-term mission or volunteer trip, intern or work abroad, or an approved state-side experience.

Don’t wait until your senior year to go. Find something that helps you see who God is and what He is doing in the world.

“I really appreciate all of the mission trips our school offers,” said Martin. “We are really blessed to have a school that wants us to go into the world, serve others and spread the Gospel.”

Yes, I am one of the panicking seniors. I waited until this year to fulfill the requirement due to money, time and not knowing where to go. Thankfully, through the Global Engagement Office, I was able to find a trip during spring break that worked for me. My suggestion to you: don’t procrastinate. Research trips, pray about it and save up. Above all, don’t be a panicking senior.