Graduating Through COVID

My graduation wasn’t at all what I expected it to be! Sat in the flat with my flatmates, wearing trackies and watching a short congratulations video my university had released. This is my graduation experience.
Charlotte Sparling

I have just graduated from an undergraduate Psychology course. I have spent the last 4 years of my life working my hardest with the end sight of not just a job but also a party to celebrate the achievement. This is something that COVID-19 has taken away from me – for now anyway. While the job market is tougher than usual and my vision of rolling out of uni and straight into a dream job hasn’t quite gone to plan, I don’t feel too negative about it as I think maybe I was a little too hopeful. There is still a high chance, however, that I will find a job before the end of 2020. The chance to graduate this year though has gone.

We have been promised a graduation ceremony next year so I’m still hopeful that I will get that big day with the robes, the stage and my family cheering me on. Grad ball however, cancelled! Dissertation submission, online. Last lecture, online. Getting to say goodbye to my course mates in person, that might have to wait a while. While my initial reaction to COVID and graduation was the disappointment of missing a ceremony or party, it’s all the little things I missed that I didn’t even think about. My final year ended with one underwhelming experience after another.

However, not everything in this situation is negative. Being in lockdown has allowed me to spend more time with my flatmates towards the end of our lease, learn to work online more efficiently and encourage me to appreciate the smaller things in life. Being furloughed from my part-time job has also been like a little holiday and the time that I would have used working there, I have been able to tunnel into job searching for a full-time role instead.

Graduating in 2020 has definitely not been easy or what I expected, however, that’s just the way it is. It’s also reassuring knowing that every other graduate around the world is in the same boat and maybe that makes our graduation year even more special. For now, I’m going to keep focussing on finding that dream job and keeping my fingers crossed that COVID doesn’t impact my graduation next year. Here’s to the graduates of 2020, may this year make us stronger than ever!

Charlotte Sparling staff photo

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