I have heard the words “unprecedented” and “historic time” more times this last month than ever in my life. While these words might accurately describe the world’s current state, it doesn’t soften the blow on seniors during this time.
With the announcement of online classes for the remainder of the semester, my immediate concerns fell upon graduation. As each day passed and the fate of graduation day yet to be decided, I focused more on transitioning to online class — and rewatching the “Harry Potter” series with my parents. However, I kept the possibility of a canceled ceremony in the back of my mind.
So when it was announced that there would be no in-person ceremony in May, it didn’t come as much of a shock to me. It was disappointing, to say the least, but it makes sense to cancel graduation amid this necessary time of social distancing.
While we won’t have an in-person ceremony, there will be an online ceremony in its place on May 9. I think my family and I will tune in; yet, it doesn’t hold the special weight of wearing a cap and gown and walking across the graduation stage. Graduates are invited to attend the ceremonies in August, December or even next May, but this feels more like an invitation to crash someone else’s graduation.
It’s upsetting we won’t get the same opportunity as those before and after us, but like Harry Potter’s wise mentor Albus Dumbledore once said, “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” While the dream of walking across the stage at Pinnacle Bank Arena is no more, the dream of graduating lives on.
The education and experiences we have acquired over the years are what matter most as we move forward. The knowledge we’ve gained from the classroom, the interactions with classmates and friends and the contributions made at internships will help guide us through our careers and lives.
Back in 2016, when I first started at UNL, I remember thinking fondly of the futuristic year 2020 — my highly anticipated graduation year. Though this is arguably one of the worst times to be graduating and entering the job market, I’m thankful for my dad, mom and older brother who are always here for me and support me. I know I would be much more overwhelmed if I didn’t have my dad’s continual reminders to not worry, trust God and just keep trying.
While each person’s graduation year is special, I implore that this year’s graduating class not be forgotten after this passes. For those graduating this May, commemorate this special milestone by spending time with family, taking graduation pictures and reflecting back on your years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The class of 2020 may not get the traditional graduation recognition, but may our accomplishments, which will live longer than any ceremony, not go unnoticed.