Graduation day is quickly approaching, and it won’t be long before the senior class has the opportunity to turn their class ring around and face it outwards toward the world. This has been a tradition for many years, where the turning around of the ring, so the lux faces away from themselves, symbolizes new opportunities and serves as a connector to other Meredith College alumni. The Herald reached out to a number of seniors to hear their thoughts on the Onyx and their plans for wearing it after graduation.
Of the students interviewed, all shared the sentiment that the Onyx symbolizes something greater than just a ring. To Julia Ogden, the ring's meaning goes beyond Meredith. Ogden shared that the Onyx is representative of her “personal growth since [her] freshman year” and all the people she has met along the way. Ogden intends to wear her ring after graduation but also noted that her decision may change if Meredith does not “change the way [the institution is] treating their students.”
Macie Skeen shared that she plans to wear her ring after graduation, making mention of its “subtle touch of professionalism” and also noting that, to her, the Onyx is symbolic of her “sense of belonging” and the family she feels she will always be a part of. Skeen discussed that she will often get recognized by others because of her Onyx, estimating that it happens once a month on average. Skeen said that the experience “never gets old.”
On the other hand, Megan Burkoski said that she does not often get recognized by others because of her ring. Nonetheless, Burkoski also plans to wear her ring after graduation, sharing that it is “important to [her], and it was expensive.” More than that, Burkoski also reminisced on her friendships and memories made during her four years at Meredith and how her ring is a reminder of that.
Burkoski recognized that everyone views the ring differently and that “some people did not even want one,” but to her, it is proof of how far she has come. Ogden also reflected on her personal journey and “resilience despite [her] struggles.” Ogden added that it unites and connects the class and emphasizes “empathy for and support [of] those that you're connected to.”
Charlie Hatch shared that regardless of who recognizes her Onyx, “having the conversation about the connection to Meredith is always rewarding.” Hatch also commented on the different levels of support they receive from alumni when recognized by the Onyx, especially people of color who previously attended Meredith. Hatch believes that “[Meredith students of color] collectively understand what attending a predominantly white historically women’s institution is on an educational and social level.” The unity that Onyx represents can be especially powerful to alumni of color.
Morgan Maddocks added a different perspective on the tradition of the ring. Maddocks noted that while it is a “nice reminder of shared experience,” she chooses to look at it from a more personal perspective and the time she put into Meredith “rather than something that ‘unifies’ students and alumni.” Maddocks also plans to wear her ring after graduation.
While feelings and plans surrounding the Onyx are different amongst the Class of 2023, the ring is something truly special to Meredith students. Whether it’s personal nostalgia and feelings of accomplishment or a symbol of unity, the Onyx is a reminder of the College’s impact on the lives of its graduates.
By Shae-Lynn Henderson, Features Editor