They Mailed Me My Diploma, And Honestly, I'm Not Upset
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Student Life

They Mailed Me My Diploma, And Honestly, I'm Not Upset

Reflections from a 2020 grad who didn't get to flip the tassel.

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They Mailed Me My Diploma, And Honestly, I'm Not Upset
Sarah Clemmitt

I spent a majority of the time that I was in high school thinking about what I was going to do after high school. I planned out my gap year (numerous times) and began my college search about a week into my freshman year.

Clearly, I've never been particularly good at living in the moment.

When the class of 2019 graduated, I began searching online for the perfect graduation dress. While my school does not do caps and gowns, the tradition is that senior boys wear tuxedos, and senior girls wear white dresses and flower crowns. The first day of my senior year, I had at least 10 google chrome tabs open with various overpriced white dresses.

I never bought any of them.

With 100 academic days until graduation, my class had our senior dinner. We were served lobster and a variety of sushi. I sat around a table with my classmates laughing and joking. We were amazed that after three and a half years, we only had 100 more days. Little did we know that the 100 days, which on that night seemed so few, would be chopped down to a number closer to 25.

On March 6, 2020, I, along with the rest of the senior class at my high school, left for spring break. We would return to campus on April 2 and graduate May 24. About a week and a half later, it became clear that we would not be able to return to school as planned. It was not until mid-April, that the school administration made the final decision that we would not return to in-person school for the rest of the academic year.

At first, I was crushed.

I had been dreaming of my graduation for years, and I found myself in enraged awe at the unfairness of the world. Why did it have to me... my graduating class? Why couldn't this have happened last year… or next year...

I'm not often one to wallow in self-depreciation, so I soon forced myself to cease grieving what the spring of my senior year should have been, and began to search for the good I could find in the situation. People who wouldn't have otherwise been able to attend the ceremony would able to tune into the zoom call that would be my celebration.

I would still graduate on time, which is more than could be said for some of my senior friends. I quickly came to the conclusion that while graduation would be much different this year, different didn't necessarily equal bad.

On May 24, 2020, I sat in the center of my family's couch (which was only designed to seat two people), wedged between my parents, staring at the screen of my laptop. It was cool, really, to see all of my classmates in their homes. Despite having miles and oceans together and spreading across the majority of Earth's time zones, all 81 of us gathered together in one space — albeit an electronic space — for our graduation, despite the global pandemic raging around us.

The class of 2020 made history. (Anyone who claims otherwise is kidding themselves.)

And while it took me a while to settle into the idea, this wasn't all bad. Graduation was different. My diploma arrived in a UPS package rather than being handed to me by the headmaster of my school. I wore a blue and white jumpsuit rather than the white dress I had anticipated.

I realize though that when I look back on my graduation, I will not be thinking about how I got my diploma or what I was wearing. I will remember those final moments gathered with my high school classmates. The pride in ourselves and the love for one another that we felt as we graduated could not be diminished by a zoom call.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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