Students at Duke, UNC celebrate graduation

And at Carolina, best-selling author and surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande urged Tarheel grads to find their life's purpose by finding a community they care about.

People gathered in Chapel Hill for UNC's commencement, and those who earned degrees celebrated.

"[I'm] pretty excited!" said Jamie Maxwell, one of the graduating students. "I think most of it hasn't set in yet, but it's starting to."

"It's just a big day!" said Meredith Ward, who is also graduating. "I'm excited to see my family, nervous to be around thousands of people!"

The sea of caps and gowns on display, plus all the well-wishers, had graduates saying:

"I'm proud of what I've done these past four years," said Maxwell Gregson. I'm excited for what the future holds. It's just an exciting time, and I'm happy I'm here to do it!"

While they celebrated in Chapel Hill, another shade of blue was displayed in Durham at the commencement of traditional rival Duke.

"There's days when it's hard and you're like, 'I wanna go home!'" said Niva Taylor, one of the graduating students. "Then there's days when you just never wanna leave."

Now, they can smile as they recall

"By far, the best years of my life!" said Kyle Rand. "Everyone says this is the best years of your life, but you like grow, in this place you grow so much: socially, culturally, academically."

Some have jobs waiting---for some, it's post graduate studies. But others still need good jobs. They hope the person hiring believes degrees from two of the nation's top universities make them good prospects.

Copyright © 2024 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.