LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - McNeese University's campus is getting a little lighter next semester.
Saturday morning the university held its graduation ceremony for 577 students.
It's the sound every college kid can't wait to hear: "The Graduation March."
Over 500 students gathered inside Burton Coliseum to receive that special piece of paper.
And family and friends couldn't help but gush in pride as they watched their loved ones finally get their degree.
So what's next for some of McNeese State University's fall graduates?
"I'm going to work at State Farm," said graduate Tanner Guidry.
"I'm running for the Mayor of Lake Charles in 2021," said graduate Wil Clophus.
"I plan on coming back for my MBA," said graduate Khadijah Charles.
"I got a position at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital in the ER," said graduate Caitlin Arrington.
As those four years officially came to an end Saturday, many already know what they're going to miss about college.
"Just really the grind," said graduate Kaleb Hollie. "You get kind of used to it a little bit - the sleepless nights, the long days, the long hours of studying - so that kind of teaches you the work ethic you'll need for the future."
"The people, the organizations I joined, and the great education I got," said Charles.
"Probably my best memories was playing soccer at McNeese, and getting to know all the athletes and becoming like a family with the athlete community," said graduate Savannah Laricci.
"Nursing, if you don't stick together, you don't make it through - so I guess building that friendship that I had with a lot of them was the best," said Arrington.
So what's the key to surviving college?
"Study hard," said Guidry.
"Start early," said Hollie. "Start early, don't wait too late."
"Stay focused," said Clophus. "Don't drop out, don't take any semesters off."
"Study, don't procrastinate, and you'll do fine," said Charles.
"Never, ever procrastinate because it bites you in the butt," said Laricci.
Because they all agree sticking it out was the best decision they could have ever made.
"It's so worth it," said Arrington. "It's so rewarding, the feeling standing here right now…it feels good."
Dr. Daryl Burckel also was officially installed as the seventh president of McNeese State University at Saturday's ceremony.
The family of the late Tenisha Davis was also in attendance to accept a posthumous degree in her honor.