How do you boil down years and years of hard work into a single word?

That’s the challenge we posed to Illinois State University’s spring graduates at last weekend’s commencement. The STATEside crew asked some of ourĀ 3,450 graduates a simple question: How does it feel to graduate from Illinois State, in one word? The responses we heard were all over the map, from heartfelt to funny to surprisingly candid.

See for yourself what our graduates had to say on one of the biggest days of their life.

Ryan Denham can be reached at