By Eligia Arias—
"...virtual graduation is not the way to congratulate and acknowledge such hard work and through such difficult times."
We’ve just hit the spring mark not too long ago. It’s the April season of 2020 with beautiful weather here and there teasing us and preparing us for what’s to come. The plans, the midterms, the running around mentally, doting our I’s and crossing our T’s to make it through the semester.
And for upcoming May 2020 graduates everywhere and here at Passaic County Community College a time of not only panic but joy and excitement, of hair days planned, outfits picked, family members invited and even sadness of saying goodbye to some of our favorite professors. Professors who have pushed us to excel, who have been like family and at times acted as therapists, always there to listen whether education related or not. Mixed feelings but an important milestone in many of our lives.
We are three weeks into virtual learning – forced upon all of us due to this pandemic, CVOID19. There is light at the end of the tunnel, that all will work itself out eventually.
Sadly, this isn’t the case for graduates of this Spring. Our country as well as others have been on curfew and orders of social distancing in an attempt of slowing the spread of such a deadly, unpredictable and still incurable virus.
Some schools, colleges and universities around the world have already put Zoom graduations into practice. That is a virtual graduation, where there is no getting dressed for your ceremony or at least no need to since you’ll be attending from the comforts of your own home.
Additionally, there will be no goodbyes to your professors and fellow classmates and for parents and family members especially to those that will be the first to graduate in their family, the dream of seeing them walk in their gown, of their name being called out and the re-positioning of the tassel, those dreams will be just that – dreams.
In an era where everything and everyone moves quick, where everything is fast paced, where millennials are the thing to be because of their love of technology and so their odds of being better at social distancing outweighs those of others, virtual graduation just isn’t something many students are happy about.
We are in a time where people are forced by this situation to stay home, making our relationship to those we love even stronger by leading us into spending both valuable and more time with such people, to truly create relationships instead of merely coexisting with one another. A time that has truly called society to slow down, evaluate the importance of life – the silver-lining – are we okay with virtual graduation.
Virtual graduation is okay so long as we are given a formal graduation in the future with a date to look forward to. Virtual graduation lacks connection, lacks acknowledgement of those who have worked hard to get classes. Even more importantly, given the circumstances of current students, being forced to complete classes online given the circumstance, virtual graduation is not the way to congratulate and acknowledge such hard work and through such difficult times.