For some, it was their last semester in college.
“My college experience was the best, nothing compared to movies but walking across the stage in May would top it off. My entire family would be coming to see me,” said senior agriculture systems management student Aaliyah Jones.
After a long four years of chasing a degree that would potentially get them their dream job or admittance into a graduate program, it all ended abruptly when a pandemic known as the coronavirus erupted.
During the days leading up to most colleges’ Spring Break in the United States, schools were being forced to switch to online instruction due to the novel coronavirus, making the last moments of the academic year bittersweet.
For soon-to-be graduates in both high school and college, the pandemic threatened their meaningful milestones. They did not get the opportunity to say goodbye or make the most of their final days on campus.
Being accepted into college is a breakthrough for some and is even more outstanding when you are the first in your family to obtain a college-level degree.
Amir Newby graduated from a high school in Tallahassee. After receiving his diploma, he gained the opportunity to further his education at his dream school, University of South Florida. He studies occupational therapy and is set to graduate in May.
“My mom pushed me harder than anyone else these last four years. At times, I wanted to give up, but I knew that my degree would get me places no one in my family has ever seen or heard of. For my mom, it would make her extremely proud, and she is who I do it for,” he said.
“When I heard the news of graduation being postponed or maybe canceled, I didn’t know how to feel and to be honest. I still don’t know how to feel. I wanted to celebrate with family and friends on the special day when I cross the stage,” said Newby.
For some, a postponed graduation ceremony is all that matters. Walking across the stage is all they ever dreamed of.
“Whether my ceremony is pushed to the summer or possibly fall, I plan to come back if possible. That is a very big day for me, and I can’t imagine letting it go to waste. My family is proud of me, my friends are rooting for me and I am not going to let this moment pass me by,” said FAMU senior health science student Shania Stephenson.
Most schools have not released information on postponed graduation ceremonies, but plan to release information when available.