Graduating College During a Pandemic [2020] – My Rant

Graduating college is supposed to be one of the biggest moments of your life. COVID has kind of thrown that out the window. Graduations have been cancelled since spring, and with many students prepping to graduate in December, more and more students are going to miss out on this big milestone.

I will unfortunately be one of those students. I’ve been planning on graduating early since I started college, and I’m set to finish up my undergraduate degree in a few short weeks. My little sister just graduated from high school in May, missing out on her graduation. I’m afraid I’m going to be joining her in missing out on my own. Drake announced recently that our December commencement will now be virtual.

Being a College Senior in COVID

This semester has just been one thing after the other. When registering for classes, I decided that I would retake my Astronomy 001 class for a higher grade. A week before the year started, I also added on another LPS elective “for fun.” These two extra courses put me at 18 credit hours. And this isn’t a normal 18 credits. I’m a double major, so I’m taking two senior seminars as well as my last requirement for Digital Media Production – called Advanced Video Production. All of this together means 6 courses – two of which are extremely production heavy, taking hours and hours outside of class time to produce content.

On top of that, I mistakenly added an LPS elective thinking it would be “fun.” What was originally about Globalization turned into Food Law and being taught be a different professor. I guess the department was using this as a “placeholder” on registration. I had originally decided to take it because I thought it was being taught by one of my favorite professors, and then they switched everything a week before classes started. Overall, you might say that I’m a little stressed. I’m pretty much doing school work non-stop at this point in the semester.

This sucks.

Now that we’re a good way through the fall and have a mere few weeks left, I’d just like to say — this semester sucks. My classes were all supposed to be in person. Now I only have 1 of 6 meeting in-person on campus, everything else is over Zoom. I was thinking I would be on campus every day of the week, so I stupidly purchased a meal plan that I no longer need and will probably just have to eat the money spent on that (unintentional food pun).

It seems like now that we’re online, I’m doing double if not triple the amount of work I would be doing in a normal semester. Professors are piling on more and more busy work to compensate for not being in classes. Everything is being done at an accelerated pace. For example: My astronomy class is supposed to meet twice per week, with about 1 hour 15 minute lectures for each of those meetings. Now that we’re online, that professor is posting at least four lectures per week, some reaching 1.5 hours each time. In other classes, there is much more reading and assignments due than usual. Professors keep saying that they are “here if we need anything,” and then just give us an absurd amount of homework and are unreachable.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually doing pretty well in all my classes. At midterms I had straight A’s. But I think I speak for most college students when I say this — I’m dying. It’s so hard to keep up. And it’s so hard to stay motivated when we’re isolated like this. Social gathering are non-existent, clubs and organizations don’t meet anymore, sports games are cancelled. Campus is almost eerie when I’m actually there.

As a whole, college kids really got the short end of the stick this fall. We shouldn’t have come back if it was going to be like this. Not only for mental health purposes, but no one is actually learning in this. We’re all just barely getting by, day by day.

BUT – we should stop complaining

All I hear nowadays is “this sucks” “this is so unfair!” and so on and so forth. I’m not excluded from this, I mean I did just write half a blog post complaining. And it’s okay to complain, for a while.

Something I read on Facebook a few weeks ago really made me think about our situation and how complaining does nothing to fix it. We’re all in the same boat. It’s not like some of us have it nice right now and others don’t. Life sucks for pretty much everyone right now. People have had to postpone their weddings. Graduations are cancelled. People are being laid off from their jobs. Not been able to pay rent, and so much more. This pandemic really hasn’t been easy on anyone, but we can’t fall into the “poor me” mindset forever. Here is the message from the inspiring FB post I saw:

The past 6+ months I’ve heard the phrase “our kids have already lost so much” countless times. And, my friends, I’m over it.
It’s a bit pathetic, in my opinion, that as adults we are perpetuating the victim mentality for our kids instead of teaching them the art of grit and pivoting in unexpected or challenging times.
Using a current issue as an example, are kids really going to “suffer” of they don’t trick or treat? No. Only if WE (the adults) model a “loss” mindset.
What if, instead, families looked at it as a way to plan a really fun evening? Maybe doing a family art project, bobbing for apples in mixing bowls, packaging up sweet treats to door drop for neighbors, creating a spooky themed meal together.
I assure you, if WE (the adults) started finding the OPPORTUNITY instead of inflating the perceived losses, we may actually find that we have opportunities to create lasting memories for our children. They’ll remember that year they had a SPECIAL Halloween instead of trick or treating like every other year.
Shift your OWN perspective so we can look back at this time and remember how much our kids (and ourselves) LEARNED during the pandemic, not lost.
Opportunities are everywhere. For more quality time. For more exploring. For more conversations. For slowing down.
Mindset matters, friends. And WE are setting the stage for the next generation. Let’s do better….for them and for ourselves.

At the end of the day, we all know this sucks. Nonetheless, life will eventually go back to normal. And while none of us can really say when that will happen, humans have gone through worse things than having to wear a mask and socially distance. We’ll get through this. Whether it’s next month or next year, COVID will eventually pass and we’ll move on to the next disaster waiting for us. Just kidding. But seriously, we got this.

One thought on “Graduating College During a Pandemic [2020] – My Rant

  1. Well said, Hannah. Very proud of you. And you will still graduate early, just in an unconventional manner. Hang in there!

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