Now would be the time where graduations would be going underway for us college students. We would be sitting amongst our fellow schoolmates, filled with an exuberant amount of anticipation. We would be in uniformed position preparing to walk across a large stage then presented a degree; our families cheering for us in the audience in recognition of our accomplishments. There would be an after-party or some type of intimate celebratory event that we would be sharing with loved ones and graduates alike. It would be a day to go down in the books for so many first-generation college graduates.
But the start of a worldwide pandemic had other plans.
With the spread of COVID-19, I had to complete the remaining month and a half of my studies from the encasement of my home. I—along with other students across several countries—switched from in-person instruction to online learning. It wasn’t a difficult transition for me given that I had taken two online classes the previous semester, so I was already familiar with that style of learning. But of course, in-person instruction is a lot more convenient with understanding academic material and, I would have preferred to spend my last few days as an undergraduate student on campus in a physical classroom.
I submitted my last assignment on blackboard Monday, April the 27th, and I realized that it would be the last deadline ever for my undergraduate studies. As I now sit and reflect on my last four years, I can say that I am truly grateful for the experience. I was granted a full scholarship at the University of the District of Columbia, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in a study I love— English Literature. I had the opportunity of creating connections with some of the best professors and leaving pleasant impressions on classmates who I now call my friends.
As we go into May, I’m sure that by now grades have begun trickling in one by one as the semester wraps up for all students. It’s a bit saddening that I wasn’t able to pick up my cap and gown or go to take graduation photos in preparation for the big day. May 9th was to be the date for my graduation; however, I am patiently looking forward to the big day sometime in December.
I know my focus seems to be only on college graduates but high school seniors I haven’t forgotten about you. My sympathy goes out to you during your time of major events as well. You might not be getting the class trip, prom, or graduation you envisioned; nonetheless, you’re all still graduates. Don’t lose your optimism or school spirit in light of what is going on, make sure you stay connected with your classmates and friends; make as many virtual memories as possible.
To all fellow graduates here is my Public Service Announcement: If your graduation ceremony has been canceled or postponed to a later date, you should still celebrate yourself for your academic success during this season. We have all fulfilled a major milestone in our lives and we should not go without celebrating ourselves in the safest ways possible.
This is one last hurrah and congratulations to the Class of 2020.
Best wishes on your next endeavors!