Graduation in the Time of Coronavirus

Goodbyes are never easy, but they’re even trickier when you can’t say them in person. Although Wash U has set an alternate date for an in-person graduation, the university is also doing things to commemorate the day we would be graduating. This is definitely a strange way to end my college experience. I was worried it would be anti-climatic. However, Wash U faculty and staff have done their best to ensure that our graduation is still recognized.

To kick off virtual graduation, the university sent a celebration box to all seniors who requested one. I was unreasonably excited to receive mine in the mail. I couldn’t wait to model the graduation cap and green t-shirt inside. The university encouraged to share a photo of themselves wearing the graduation gear or photos of themselves at Wash U on social media using #WashU20! In addition to the celebration box, seniors also received a collection of recipes from Dining Services. I’m personally looking forward to making Ibby’s gnocchi. Those fun gifts made what would have been graduation week a little more festive.

Yesterday, when we would have started the graduation ceremonies, my major department sent out a 2020 graduation program along with a video recognizing all those graduating with the major. It was fun to see what my classmates and friends had accomplished. It was also nice to see professors I’d taken classes with over the years in the video.  My day kept improving when the university sent us a video where faculty members along with a collection of celebrities, including Cardinals players, Ellie Kemper, Andy Cohen, and Karlie Kloss, congratulated our class. Thanks to those videos, the day felt more special.

While I’m disappointed that an in-person graduation has to be postponed, I’m looking forward to virtual graduation today.  I’ve really appreciated the videos that departments and the university have posted to recognize graduates. This is definitely a unique graduation experience, but it hasn’t been a bad one. Faculty, staff, and members of the senior class council have worked hard to ensure that our graduation won’t go uncelebrated for the time being, and that has been a silver lining in the midst of all the cancelled plans. This graduation experience has made me appreciate Wash U more than before.  I am truly sad to say goodbye.