A few months before graduation, I talked about the class of 2020’s unique struggle to finish graduation in the middle of a global pandemic and how we’d have to be resilient to thrive moving forward. While it’s been several months since graduation (and even more months since COVID-19 forced the world to change our lives indefinitely), I don’t think I’ll ever forget the pressure and general shock of having to complete undergrad when the world seemed to be collapsing in front of our eyes.
Sometimes I’ve forgotten what it’s like to live through a pandemic, but most often I am all-too-aware of how halted our everyday lives have become from watching the news or staying inside since the middle of March this year. All of my class discussions and job interviews took place over Zoom or phone calls. Even now, when I would normally go into work, I’m starting my new job through video calls and email messages. Life as we knew it before this time has been upended to a degree no one could have predicted.
It’s safe to say everyone has struggled during this time. But I feel like the class of 2020 had a particularly unique struggle, in that they didn’t get to finish school in the same manner that past and future post-pandemic students have and will have. We didn’t have face-to-face classes for half of the year. We had to work online, and for many of us, we had to move in with family after living on campus. We didn’t get to walk during graduation, had it rescheduled, or had some alternative commencement. Many post-graduation plans such as traveling the world have been put on hold indefinitely while the world deals with this new virus.
I’ve said it before, but I think it’s worth repeating: the class of 2020 is nothing short of resilient. We’ve had drastic highs and lows we’ve never experienced in our lifetimes and we’ve had to get through them. And we graduated despite all of these odds.
It’s easy to get caught up in how we’re living as the “new norm,” but I hope my fellow 2020 graduates acknowledge the incredible strength they have. Those traits of resilience will take you far in life, not just in future careers, but also in relationships and your own personal development. I admire all of my classmates and all the 2020 graduates for persisting in spite of so many odds against us. The class of 2020 is a shining example of resilience, and I hope we never forget that.