As a recent college graduate, I have driven by many houses decorating their lawns with signs of their graduate and have seen many posts on social media about how ceremonies will be held due to the pandemic. I was fortunate to be able to receive my diploma on stage, in front of my family before things changed and it was something I will never forget. However, this year all graduates will have one thing in common and that is that their graduation will not be the traditional graduation that they have always envisioned. COVID-19 has caused many things to change and that included graduations. Many schools are/have done creative things in order for their graduating students to have some sort of closure. There have been ideas such as virtual ceremonies to drive-by graduation ceremonies and some schools have gone door-to-door and dropping off diplomas and congratulating the graduate. There have been some schools that have postponed graduation in hopes of being able to do something in the future and some schools have ended up just canceling them. This new normal has forced schools to get creative and think of something for the upcoming graduating classes.
Graduating high school is a big accomplishment and that is something that should be celebrated. Many have worked extremely hard to achieve these accomplishments and being able to graduate next to your classmates and friends is what makes it more of an enjoyable experience.
Although 2020 graduations are not the typical graduation, some schools have been creative to give the students something to remember. Many students who are graduating high school will then decide to go onto college and many preparing for four years of high school to be ready to go to college. When it comes time to choosing and thinking about college, they offer a tour you can set up to go visit the school and this gives the idea if this certain school is the right fit for them. Another change due to COVID-19 is not being able to go physically to the school and see all that it has to offer. This can be difficult when choosing the correct fit for a college as many schools have moved to virtual visits and zoom meetings. This is just not the same as being able to go and it is easier when you are doing this in person to get the idea if this is the correct school for you or not.
While the younger generations are typically more adaptable to technology changes, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken away some “rites of passage” for students. Most people remember sweating under a cap and gown to cross a stage for your friends and family to see you receive a diploma. Now, graduating students have been the first classes to graduate virtually or remotely. For prospective students, while doing your research online to learn about a college or university is helpful, trying to select a college without visiting the campus can feel like a crapshoot. While these students and graduates are forced to experience major life events in a majorly different way, perhaps their experiences may help pave the way for future students.
I wish a heartfelt “congratulations” to the 2020 graduates!
Written by Lauren B. Kilmartin
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