Odyssey creators Emily Daily, Alexandria Schaefer, and Rachel Weaver graduated college this spring, and discussed their feelings about postponed commencement.
How did you first react when you found out your graduation ceremony was postponed?
"When graduations and commencements started getting canceled, I was pretty nervous and was hoping mine wouldn't. I mean, graduating college is a big deal for me. Then we got the text saying to check our student emails for information regarding graduation. Thankfully they said they wouldn't cancel it and they postponed my university's graduation until August 1. It was nice because my sister was supposed to graduate high school on the same day I was supposed to graduate college, so it was going to be a crazy day and we wouldn't have been able to enjoy it. It's nice now that they aren't on the same day." -Alexandria S.
"At first I didn't really mind it, everyone else was freaking out and I was just chilling. However I believe the day my college graduation was supposed to happen is when it hit me. I wasn't going to be able to walk across two stages as I had hoped. Everything just started crashing and I started freaking out because I wouldn't get my degree or diploma or my cords. My mom actually got scared because I just started crying out of nowhere. Luckily I have two amazing parents who searched my cords up and bought them for me off of Amazon and I just got word from my counselors that we are getting our degree mailed to us. Also today is when I find out if we are having a drive-through graduation or graduation at the Texas Ranger Stadium so I think everything is going okay right now." - Rachel W.
"I wasn't all that surprised when I got the news that the ceremony was postponed. I was upset but saw it coming since graduations across the country were getting postponed left and right. I felt like the rest of my last semester just disappeared within a couple of days to only a week." -Emily D.
Did those feelings change on the day of graduation? If so, how?
"I honestly forgot I was supposed to be graduating on the original date until late that afternoon. My feelings didn't change, it doesn't really even feel like anything has changed. It doesn't feel like college is over or anything, maybe it just hasn't set in." -Alexandria S.
"I think now I'm okay because we are getting our awards just not the traditional way we would have wanted. Like the shock has gone away." - Rachel W.
"It hit me more the day of than when I first got the news. I cried a bit the morning of when I realized I wasn't walking that day. I even became angry later that day when it closer to the time I was supposed to walk. It felt different even though I did a variety of things to celebrate such as an open house with my ministry and seeing friends afterward. It was strange since my family was supposed to come that day to watch me walk." - Emily D.
What did you do to celebrate instead?
"I didn't do anything to celebrate or have anything planned. But my sister is graduating high school, so that's been the big focus with my family. They don't think graduating college really needs parties or anything since I already had a graduation in high school." - Alexandria S.
"My family didn't do anything, except my dad bought me a new phone as a graduation gift but my school is planning a graduation celebration drive-through." - Rachel W.
"My ministry held an open house for seniors. We signed up for individual slots. Each senior was filmed about future plans and favorite memories while being in our ministry. We had pictures taken and received gifts and superlatives personalized for each senior. I took some pictures in front of the arena and went to Andy's with some friends afterward. Last, I hung out with some other friends since two of them also graduated that day too. My mother came to town the next day, and went to eat lunch and went shopping. She surprised me with some gifts and cards from the family, along with some frosted cookies with MSU and graduation related designs on them." - Emily D.
What piece of advice or encouragement would you give to another graduating senior?
Definitely don't sweat it! Yeah, it's a sucky situation, but the entire world is going through it and we're all figuring it out together. Your achievements are noticed and you did it! If your commencement is canceled, create your own in your backyard with your family and just have fun with it! Laugh with your family while doing it and just bond. Those are the memories that you'll remember more than walking across a stage." -Alexandria S.
"Don't stress yourself out over stuff you can't control. For example, we cannot control corona or the shutdown, and my mom keeps telling me that I'm taking the stress from the people who are supposed to be stress (like the government) for no reason. Also appreciate the people around you because loved ones have been lost during this time so spend time with your family." - Rachel W.
"Do something to celebrate yourself, even if it is just getting dinner or going to get ice cream. Be proud that you did the dang thing! You have every right to grieve a canceled or postponed ceremony. Your feelings are valid. If any specials come up for graduating seniors, such as Krispy Kreme giving out and selling a dozen donuts for seniors, take advantage of it! It helps you feel the love and gives you the recognition that you deserve." - Emily D.