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How it Feels to be Graduating During a Pandemic

 

 

I’ve been looking forward to graduating college with my Bachelor’s degree for a long time now. It’s taken me a while to get here. I’m incredibly grateful and proud to have achieved a goal like this and to be the first in my family to get a Bachelor’s degree. Now that the time is finally here, I’m feeling conflicted about it as many of us were uprooted from campus and had to make a massive transition of school being completely online. Many commencement ceremonies are also going to be held online this year.

I was a transfer student, starting at UW Bothell in my junior year, and unfortunately, I only got to spend two quarters on campus before COVID hit and places shut down. When I got to be on campus, I was thriving and enjoying being in my classes. I was learning so much and meeting great people. When all of that moved to and online environment, a lot of that enjoyment went away. I still was doing okay, but it wasn’t nearly the same kind of learning experience. I had to spend the majority of the last two years of college sitting in my room, staring at a screen. I feel like I missed out on so many fun in-person opportunities. One of them is studying abroad. That was one of my biggest goals and something I was incredibly excited for. When I was finally ready to take the leap and do it, the doors seemed to slam right in my face.

Not being able to walk across that stage for the commencement ceremony was something I never expected to happen. I always pictured myself taking those rewarding steps after all the years of hard work I dedicated to school. Rather than feeling super prepared to take on the world, I feel held back, like the current disasters are putting up a blockade. However, we all should acknowledge how much we have accomplished this past year. Everything we did was in spite of the odds against us. We should all be very proud of ourselves no matter how rocky our paths have been along the way. We don’t have to walk across that stage to commemorate our achievement. There are so many other ways to celebrate with loved ones and get well-deserved praise for our resiliency!

Wishing all the best to all other graduates as well as those who are working their way towards graduation.

Nina Jouval is a student at the University of Washington Bothell majoring in Media and Communication Studies. She is currently a Program Coordinator in Outreach and specializes in social media, marketing, and recruitment. In her free time, she enjoys being with her family, friends, and her two cats, and is also passionate about writing and creativity. Her goals include traveling abroad, publishing a book, and working to make a positive lasting impact.
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