Should Colleges Cancel Graduation For Coronavirus?
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Politics and Activism

If Coronavirus Cancels College Graduations, We Better Still Find A Way To Honor Seniors

Coronavirus is raining on the senior's parade.

If Coronavirus Cancels College Graduations, We Better Still Find A Way To Honor Seniors

I am not a senior. However, as a rising senior at one of the many American universities that have decided to cancel all in-person classes and activities for the rest of the spring semester, I sympathize with the students in the graduating class above me.

Completing four years of college is not easy work. It requires perseverance, dedication, and (most likely) more than one all-nighter camped out in the library. Obviously, the degree is the big reward that students receive as a way of commemorating all of their work. However, it is only fair that students get to celebrate their achievements and hard work with the special events specifically for the seniors during their final year of college.

Thankfully, the students were able to enjoy the senior activities and events offered by Fordham during the fall semester, such as Senior Toast as well as a few celebratory Senior Nights. Yet, this does not take away from the fact that they are missing out on the additional celebratory events that seniors usually have the privilege of enjoying.

The sad reality is that the chances of many American universities hosting a traditional graduation seem slim. This is because the CDC has stated that mass gatherings increase the risk of the spread of COVID-19. If I find this upsetting and I am not even in the graduating class, I can only imagine how the seniors are feeling. Graduation is something that not only students look forward to, but it is also an event that their families and close friends eagerly await. I can guarantee that my parents would be devastated if they found out my graduation was canceled.

You only graduate from college once — it is not something that you can simply skip and re-do another time.

It is important to note that other students are also missing out on two months of their spring semester. My heart goes out to athletes–especially the senior athletes–because some of their seasons had to come to such an abrupt end. For the athletes graduating at the end of this semester, it is unnerving to think that their time as a college athlete had to come to a close this way.

We also cannot forget the study abroad students — such as myself! — who had to end their global experience two months early because of how out of hand this virus has become. Not only did study abroad students miss out on half of their amazing experience overseas, but they also may have lost significant amounts of money on future trips that they can no longer take, plane tickets and Airbnb reservations add up over the semester. It was impossible to imagine the gravity of this virus — that has turned into a pandemic — when booking these trips earlier in the semester.

I understand the decision of many schools across the country for closing down. I respect that the schools are doing what they can to protect their students and staff members, and to stop the spread of COVID -19. Having said that, I strongly believe that a decision regarding a ceremony that is as important as graduation should be thoroughly deliberated.

I am sure that schools can brainstorm some alternatives for the traditional college graduation that still manages to capture and maintain the importance of graduating and receiving a degree.

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