Graduated but not Graduating

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Graduated but not Graduating

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The screenshot is a cancellation email from graduation services letting us know that our graduation was being postponed, ultimately it was canceled altogether. Like many, I also lost the opportunity to walk across the stage after completing my undergraduate degree in the spring of 2020. Really it wasn’t until I found out that the graduation was canceled that I realized how much the graduation had meant to me. Before, I thought “It's just a piece of paper, who cares if you walk across the stage to get it.” It's more than that, for many it’s a transition from academia to the workforce, a real transition in life that is captured in a moment. For me, it was a little different as it was more of capturing a moment of hard work and dedication as I completed my degree while having a full-time job in the military. Also, I was the first person in my family to complete a college degree.
Not graduating doesn’t erase these accomplishments, but it does alter the celebration of the accomplishments. The pandemic changed what was considered “normal.” We can see this as graduations later in the pandemic shifted to virtual graduations accomplished over Zoom or Skype. Obviously, this is not the same experience by a long shot, but I do think that it is still important to capture these big life moments in some way. I am writing this in March 2022, the pandemic has tapered off and I hope that this spring/summer people have the opportunity to experience a real graduation!

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This item was submitted on March 27, 2022 by Bryan Paintiff using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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