On May 7, I sat in the basement of my parent’s house and finished my college career by clicking submit on an online quiz for RUSSIAN 375. In a split second, my time at Iowa State was over. No celebration occurred or defining moment that I will remember for a lifetime took place. Growing up I could have never imagined this is how my college experience would end. Watching my name scroll by on a screen during online commencement was a bittersweet moment, and I would have given anything to sit in Hilton and accept my diploma in person. The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted many people in unexpected ways, and the class of 2020 is far from excluded. Our transition in adulthood has been sudden and abrupt, leaving us scrambling to prepare for the ‘real world’. We are being pushed into find jobs in a market where hiring is basically nonexistent and unemployment rates are higher than ever before. I read an article posted to TIME.com titled How COVID-19 Will Shape the Class of 2020 For the Rest of Their Lives by Charlotte Alter, and found her remarks spot on.
“College graduation is one of life’s last clean transitions, a final passage from adolescence to adulthood that is predictable in ways other transitions rarely are. Relationships end with breakups or death, jobs often end with quitting or firing, but college is one of the only things in life that ends with a fresh start. Except when it doesn’t… The Class of 2020 hugged their closest friends and mourned their lost semester, but scattered back home without so much as a goodbye to many people they’d lived with for years. Acquaintances who laughed in hallways or shared inside jokes in seminars simply disappeared. Fraternities and sororities canceled their formals and philanthropy events, attempting Zoom happy hours that didn’t come close to the real thing.” (Alter, 2020)
Alter’s depiction of these graduate’s lives hits far too close to home with me. I never got to huge friend’s goodbye who live across the country, or sit next to my Event Management peers one last time. I have partaken in a few Zoom happy hours myself, trying to feel connected to my friends and sorority sisters during a time when we should have all still been together. I am thankful to be healthy and have parents who are willing to support me during this time, and my heart goes out to those who don’t have the same amenities. I have no idea what the next months will bring, let alone the next few weeks. The world may never be the same again, and the class of 2020 surly will never forget this period in history.
TIME article link: https://time.com/5839765/college-graduation-2020/