It is a scary time to be graduating college. No matter when students graduate though, it is always scary.
As freshmen, we were eager to learn, grow, make connections and gain experience before graduating and joining the real world. Now, as graduation grows closer, our excitement is becoming eclipsed by uneasiness and anxiety. Covid or no covid, students always feel this way.
Four years of making study guides on Quizlet, spending nights in the library and refueling with a Starbucks iced coffee ends then suddenly there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel to make it feel worth it. The weight of fear, the weight of failure is lifted, for a moment.
This year, COVID has changed everything. There is no question about that. There is a long list of opportunities we have been deprived of due to COVID-19 during our final semesters: SOLO concerts, in-person classes, conferences, competitions, recitals, parties and trips. It’s fair to say we missed out on a lot. Some of us may feel we’ve even moved backwards, living in our childhood bedrooms again as if we’re graduating high school rather than college. Our senior year did not look like we thought, hoped, or wanted and it’s okay to be disappointed about it.
While that disappointment is valid, we must also focus on all we have accomplished. We have survived a year full of challenges, unseen struggles, and mental tests. All of this we overcame while getting a college degree.
College degrees, outside of a world changing pandemic, are hard to achieve. We should be immensely proud of that accomplishment. To some, graduating college was a given. To others, it has been the struggle of a lifetime. On graduation day though, we are all the same. No one will know which student in a purple cap and gown worked the hardest and which one barely made it through. At the end of the day, no matter what, we all survived this together.
So in the end, don’t focus on what we missed out on. Focus on your accomplishments, focus on what you once might have thought was impossible. We will have to worry, eventually, about loans, jobs, and adult life but for now, revel in what we’ve done. It is easier said than done, but always remind yourself that if you can finish college in a pandemic, you can handle anything.
So for one final time, Wings Up Golden Eagles. We’re proud of you.