No Caps, No Gowns: For Many In The Class Of 2020, Commencement Is Called Off
Added 04-01-20 06:07:02am EST - “For many college students, walking across the stage isn't just a celebration, it's a recognition of years of hard work, and often sacrifices from their families. What happens when it's cancelled?” - Npr.org
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It was a pretty normal St. Patrick's Day. Nathan Stewart and a couple of friends were hanging out, drinking a few beers, soaking up senior spring at the University of Virginia. Then an email landed in their inboxes: Classes were moving online and graduation was indefinitely postponed.
"Honestly, my friends and I just immediately started crying," says Stewart. Throughout his four years at UVA, graduation had been a major motivator. When he and his friends were having tough days, they'd tell each other, "Just wait till graduation day. We're all walking across the stage together and we'll get our diplomas. It'll be so worth it then."
Now, he says he feels burned out. His research job on campus was discontinued — that was his only source of income — so Stewart is figuring out how to pay the rent on his off-campus apartment. That's on top of all his classes shifting online. "Tying to balance out the financial aspect of it, in the midst of it being emotional, is just really difficult," he says. "The hard thing, too, is that you can't place your anger or sorrow on anybody because nobody knows what they're doing."
As he and his friends were sitting around drinking, stewing over the bad news, he remembers thinking: " 'You know what's crazy? The administration is probably doing the exact same thing: Sitting on somebody else's couch, drinking a few beers, saying, 'What the hell are we going to do?' "
Nathan Stewart is right. Administrators and college presidents are scrambling to figure out what to do about graduation this year. How can they acknowledge students' hard work and success, while still maintaining social distancing amid the outbreak of coronavirus?
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