We’re living in uncertain times during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. In addition to anxiety over illnesses, loss of work, and the move of many classes online, there’s one sticking point of uncertainty for many of us graduating this year: commencement.
It’s a marker of all the work you accomplished this year, and unfortunately, many colleges such as UNCW have postponed ceremonies for the class of 2020.
To say I was heartbroken would be an understatement. But I will not let this setback take away my pride in my educational achievements.
I have a message for the class of 2020: we’re still graduating. The Her Campus staff posted an open letter on Mar. 19 with the promising message “You’re Still Graduating,” and they have plans to have a virtual ceremony for students graduating this semester. Several students are signing petitions requesting their administration to reschedule their commencement ceremonies. I started my own petition for UNCW’s class of 2020 to be able to walk across the stage this year.
A physical commencement is so important to me, yet it’s also important to note that you’ve already created those milestones yourselves. You worked so hard this semester. All the times you put into staying at the library until 2 a.m., going to professor’s office hours for help, getting extra credit, is worth it. And the times you spent as a student leader, were involved in philanthropic efforts with clubs—those were worth it. All the time you spent with friends, getting to know new ones, finding mentors, feeling a sense of community with your college—those were worth it. Those are milestones no one can take away from you.
We will find a way to celebrate our successes. Most importantly, we will acknowledge our successes when this semester ends and when this epidemic subsides.
Think of how much we’ve already accomplished. We lived through Hurricane Florence two years ago, even if you were like UNCW and missed an entire month of school on top of the damage and costs associated with natural disasters. We survived Hurricane Dorian, too. We’re going to survive COVID-19.
The class of 2020 is nothing short of resilient. I believe that we will push through, even thrive, and we will have something to say and show for it. We are resilient, class of 2020, and we will survive. Don’t let anything take that away from you.