Written by Hadley Polinsky.
Graduating college is a major accomplishment and should be celebrated accordingly, but Fall 2020 graduates may not get to experience the normal fanfare that accompanies graduation. Not only will many Fall 2020 graduates be graduating without their friends by their sides, but they are also entering the real world during a global pandemic.
“I am excited to be done with school and to be moving on to the next phase of my life but I am kind of bummed that I am graduating with no one else around me. It is kind of like a very anticlimactic ending,” fourth year communications major Maddie Hanses said.
While some have been planning for their entire college career to graduate this semester, some students changed their plans so that they could graduate now. Hanses was originally supposed to graduate Spring 2021 but decided to take summer courses and graduate a semester early. Fourth year Eric Haupt also changed his plans. Haupt was originally supposed to graduate Spring 2020, but he took a leave of absence and is graduating one semester later than planned.
“I mean it feels like it’s what’s good for me personally. Of course, it’s nice to graduate with my class but this is the option that was best for me so I’m taking it,” Haupt said.
In the movies, the senior year experience includes constant parties and practically nonexistent classes. Even though this is not an accurate depiction, this could not be farther from the truth for current seniors. Due to the current COVID restrictions, classes are online, and most people are unable to spend time with their friends in large groups. For some, this has made a disappointing last semester.
“Personally, the in-person experiences of class does carry value. So online classes are not the ideal situation for me. And if I wasn’t so college career focused I probably would have taken this as proof since I don’t think this experience is worth the expense,” Haupt said.
The pandemic is also making it difficult to make plans once the semester is over, but Loggers are doing their best at figuring out what to do next. Normally, recent college graduates may travel, but this cannot happen right now. The other common reactions to graduating are to apply to graduate school or get a job, both of which may be challenging.
“Coronavirus happened, so I’m probably going to be laying low working on grad school applications, pretty much exclusively until summer starts or the vaccine turns up and I can look for a job,” Haupt said.
“The ideal situation would be, the place I’m working for right now would give me a full-time position that would be remote, so I could just continue doing what I’m doing. But there’s a lot up in the air,” Hanses said.
Despite this semester not being exactly what they thought their senior year would look like, many have still enjoyed their experiences at the university as a whole and are hopeful for what the future may hold.
“I really liked the food and the S.U.B. to be completely honest, and The Cellar. Those were highlights of my college career. But I think right now, the thing that I missed the most, and was my overall favorite part of college would be my friends, and like the people that I’ve met,” Hanses said.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with the pandemic and there’s a lot of uncertainty that comes with looking for more education, after your undergraduate years even if it is nothing extraordinary going on with the world. So there’s like stress involved but I’m optimistic about what the future holds,” Haupt said.