A few weeks ago, I wrote about having 90 days until I graduate college.
Now I quietly sit in my little off-campus house with a tear in my eye, staring at my computer screen, and I wonder if a graduation ceremony is in my future.
As many of you know, the Coronavirus has spread quickly in the United States. We went from watching it affect countries way overseas, to having to shut down restaurants, bars and even colleges.
I’ve been seeing friends from my childhood post their sudden goodbyes to their home for the past four years, to their professors who made a lasting impact, and to friends that they can’t seem to live without.
Athletes had their seasons cut short. I’ve read countless Instagram posts about how so many people had to say goodbye to a sport they’ve known their whole lives without getting a chance to step on the field. I can’t even begin to describe the heartache of giving up something that forms so much of one’s identity.
I’m supposed to graduate in May. I was supposed to walk across the stage and pick up my diploma that I gave everything for. My hard work was going to pay off when I got to smile at my mom and dad from the stage, knowing I accomplished so much more than I planned on.
As of right now, I’m pretty sure I’m still going to get a degree (fingers crossed online classes go well). But a graduation ceremony seems so far out of reach. Many schools have already canceled ceremonies, such as Michigan or SCAD. I’m trying hard to remain optimistic, but it gets difficult when you see so many schools joining the list.
I know many people might read this and think, “It’s just a formality. All you do is walk across a stage. What’s the big deal?”
The big deal is I worked for it. I decided I didn’t want to be average in college and put a lot of hard work into my four years here at SBU. I didn’t show up just to participate, I wanted to excel. Call me sappy, but I was so excited to get my cap and gown, have my name called and strut across the stage knowing I came and I conquered.
It was going to be the last time my friends and I were all just students. The last time we didn’t have any big life commitments. The last time we could just kick back, do nothing but share some laughs over some cheap beer in our dilapidated off-campus houses.
Now people are leaving in March, not May. Now the future has become more unknown than I planned for. Now, I don’t know what could happen.
Through all this, I’m still clinging to what little optimism I have left. I’m joining my online classes, I’m still reporting for SBU-TV, and I’m still looking for a job come the summer.
Yeah, I kinda complained a lot here. Sometimes, I just need to write it all out. Helps clear up some of the anxiety taking up space in my brain.
I know there’s been no update about the status of SBU’s graduation. However, hearing everyone talk about how it “might” or it “probably will” get canceled hurts my heart. Hence, I felt the need to write it out instead of spiraling in my head.
As a senior being affected by all the craziness, all I ask is you wash your hands and stay inside. This blew up into something I never thought I would witness. I’m hoping it slows down soon and you and your loved ones can stay healthy in these strange times.