opinion

OPINION: Students are valid in mourning the loss of their graduation ceremonies



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Rachel Cambron poses for a graduation photo on IU's campus. Courtesy Photo

I’ve spent the past month or so in my home reminiscing on my years at IU-Bloomington. 

My journey is coming to its end: I’m finally graduating! But with COVID-19, the idea of celebrating seem off-putting. I’m graduating into an economic recession, during a pandemic. My plans to move out of state to Olympia, Washington, are likely going to be affected because of the crisis.

Not to mention finding a job while most employees are either laid off or working from home is going to be extremely difficult. It would have been nice to have a celebration commemorating my academic successes before these realities hit. 

Many IU seniors are planning their own ways to commemorate graduation and celebrating in appropriate ways following social distancing guidelines. 

To miss a whole ceremony though, one that celebrates all of our hard work and accomplishments we’ve made in college, really is worth mourning, especially with everything we have faced so far, and will face in the future.

In these uncertain times, celebration seems wrong, even though it could lighten spirits — however, it’s understandable why graduation was really canceled, health is the most important thing.

One of my roommates and I made plans to have our own graduation ceremony: photos and a party consisting of our household of three. I still have a graduation cap, although admittedly I just purchased a simple black one online for less than $10. I am excited for the celebration we have planned — I view my roommates and I as a family — but I do wish that my own family could visit. 

Yes, there is virtual graduationfor some schools, but that’s not nearly as rewarding as a real ceremony. It’s just upsetting that my final semester of senior year was interrupted by a pandemic, my last memories to be formed within my own home or around the neighborhood — six feet apart from everyone else. 

Surely we will all still have a good time and make the most out of a horrible situation, but as seniors we are allowed to mourn our graduation ceremony. Growing up in a college town, I remember seeing grads take photos every May and was excited to do the same and have a day all for my academic accomplishments. 

So for all of the other seniors mourning their graduation: Make your own memories and celebrate graduation in a new way.

Rachel Cambron (she/her or they/them) is a senior studying English. She also writes poetry in her spare time.

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