Professors and administrators across the world are doing their best in order to recognize their graduates as COVID-19 has forced universities to shut down and graduation ceremonies to be cancelled. I am one of the many people who have seen their studies interrupted, in one way or another, by the COVID-19 pandemic. On a Wednesday evening we drove to the university to pick up our graduation kits (the traditional square academic cap, a t-shirt, the certificate of graduation) and we graduated. I have now a degree in philology, but the future seems to be uncertain.
My fellow graduates and I have been robbed of memories and experiences. Our classes moved online and they haven’t been very enjoyable. I absolutely love face-to-face communication, I love talking to professors, asking questions and making silly jokes. As we were forced to turn to video conferences – a trend likely to continue – I noticed how many of the benefits of an in-person class online meetings lack: lack of interaction, lack of trust and transparency and a decrease in productivity. Regarding the understanding of professors, there hardly was any in some cases. I found the whole process difficult, not only because of the numerous videoconferences we had, but because many of our professors decided that, since we are staying home, we should have extra-assignments and tight deadlines. There seemed to be a huge lack of understanding towards the needs of students. I understand that this is a difficult time for everyone and I understand that once I signed up for a course I take the responsibility to complete their course, but I will never understand teachers who think that social life and personal life should fall on second place.
Most heart-breaking are the little moments we lost, starting from having coffee before classes with colleagues, the fun and laughter we had on our way to the university, to the moments that should have been used to honour all that we’ve accomplished. It’s hard to predict what the outcomes of the pandemic will be for us, college graduates, because the situation is unprecedented, but we can only hope for the best.
As Charles Dickens once said, “it was the best of times; it was the worst of time”. We shall take pride in how far we have come regardless of the difficult situation, be grateful for the memories we made along the journey and cherish our dreams for they are the children of our souls. We stayed home, washed our hands, saved lives and graduated during a pandemic. We made it.