Amherst is a very busy place this afternoon with UMass undergraduate commencement underway.
Thousands of graduates and their families are packing into McGuirk Alumni Stadium for the ceremony.
"It's really exciting to finish my four years here. I'm an engineering major, so it was tough and I've made a lot of friends and memories. It's definitely sad to leave," said Adrianna Early
It is a milestone that college co-eds dream of for years and a bright new future starts today.
"The last two years have been crazy for us. Finally, we get to sleep, so I'm very happy," said Rhana Kapoor.
On commencement weekend, the campus blossoms with about 20,000 visitors.
Traffic on-campus has certainly caused drivers to tap the brakes a time or two and getting there early was a smart idea.
"Now, it's crazy. That's what happens when you have a school of 20,000," Early added.
Getting the ceremony prepped and ready to go is no easy feat.
Countless hours go into celebrating the accomplishments of 5,500 graduates.
"It's very exciting. I think it was really well-organized and all the family is here. It's good," said Rahun Handa.
Numerous ceremonies have been scheduled throughout the weekend, which includes a special recognition of the Commonwealth Honors College in the Mullins Center Friday afternoon.
"My whole family is here, so it's really nice," Early said.
A big draw is the keynote speaker, CNN's chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, but students told Western Mass News that they are ready for the next adventure.
"It's the marking of a new chapter. I'm excited," Early explained.
Again, the pomp and circumstance is all weekend long. Expect traffic throughout the day Friday and the weekend in the Amherst area.
For real time updates on the roads, be sure to download the Western Mass News app.
For more information on all the UMass commencement events, including individual college ceremonies, you can CLICK HERE.
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