Graduation is a period that is filled with ceremonial events, laughter and a history of long fun filled activities. It’s so disheartening that the class of 2020 might not get to participate in these activities because of the global pandemic that has put the world on pause. Even with the ease of the lockdown in some part of the country, large gatherings of people are still not advisable in order to avoid the spread of the COVID 19 virus, hence the possibility of having a physical graduation for the class of 2020 might not be feasible.
In the light of this, some schools have decided to move on with online classes, exams and even graduation ceremony for their final year students.
For this post, I had the opportunity of interviewing four final year students of Babcock University, to see how they felt about the idea of a virtual graduation and how they are coping with the pandemic putting a hold on their plans after graduation. This what they had to say;
Teniola is not bothered about the whole idea of having a virtual graduation, to her “I just want to be done with school and move on to more important things”. The only thing that bothers her is the fact that her plan of getting her 2nd degree in law from the University of Liverpool or Birmingham has been put on hold due to the pandemic.
Teniola says that even though her plans have been put on hold, “I have refused to dwell too much on what has happened” and is channeling her energy into more productive things like learning some essential business skills, such as “excel”.
“Imagine the past, remember the future”, she said. “When I first heard this, it didn’t make any sense, but it stuck with me for years. I understand it this way – human beings talk a great deal about their imaginations and aspirations and most times these things are just talk and never put into action. However,we act a lot on our past because we ‘remember it’. It’s something known, something already experienced, so there is comfort in that. However, the future is largely unknown, so we imagine and think about that for forever and a day, when tomorrow comes we keep on imagining the day after that. So,for me, I prefer to remember the future I want, to grab it with all my might and work towards it because it’s already there, I just have to take the steps to get there”.
A content creator an aspiring media personality and the formal director of transport and ventures for Babcock University Student’s Association (BUSA) who recently finished her first degree from the department of Political Science and Public Administration in Babcock university. She expressed how unhappy she feels about not having a physical graduation, seeing as the whole point of a physical graduation according to her “is to celebrate the many years of endurance faced as a university student, which shouldn’t be done by mere online talks”. Her initial plan after graduation was to start working in the entertainment industry during her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which hasnow been put on hold as a result of the world wide pandemic and national lockdown.
But even though her plans might be put on hold for now, Chisom is still grateful for the opportunity the pandemic has given her to do other things she might not have been able to do if she could go out.
She said, “I will love to let everyone know that you define your success story. Start that dream plan you have now and watch it grow into a reality”.
Praise, like Teniola, is not really bothered about the idea of a virtual graduation. According to her “At first I felt a little bit sad, cause I wanted to have the full final one-week party experience with my friends, but now, I’m happy for a virtual graduation – I just want it to be over and done with”.
Even though her initial plans of traveling and attending different conferences both within and outside Nigeria might not be feasible due to the global pandemic. Praise stillexpresses how grateful she feels for the the many blessings that has come her way during the lockdown period, one of which includes that she has been able to secure a job as a digital marketer and a content creator, even with the high level of unemployment that comes as a result of the COVID 19 virus.
Here is what the Outgoing President for the Math department, Babcock university had to say when asked about how she’s dealing with the whole idea of having a virtual graduation.
Tobi is upset that she might not have a physical graduation ceremony, but she is still thankful for good health and also that she has her friends and family to celebrate with.
Tobi who already made plans to travel after her graduation and had made payments for one of her trips, in her words “I was supposed to travel, I had about 4 trips. I’m currently supposed to be in Ghana. Infact I made payments already because I was so sure and excited for the trip. Little did I know”. However, her plans might have been cancelled but she has been able to create new ones.
This period has given her more opportunity to create more content at home, read and even take online courses in fields that will be beneficial to her CV.
“My advice to everyone reading this is take a break, rest your mind, your body and your brain. This is not the end; the world has seen worse and everything will get back to normal”.
Although these students might not get to have a physicalgraduation, like every other set before them, they have refused to let the idea of not experiencing what it will feel like to march down the podium get to them and have decided to channel all their energy into more productive and beneficial things.