I’m sure many people have experienced The Quarantine in many ways.
In the beginning, some looked at it with denial – especially the young ones who think they’re immune to everything but an STD.
Others took it so seriously that they went and bought every pack of toilet paper and non-perishable foods that they could get their hands on. As if a pack of Charmin could save their ass from this pandemic.
I don’t know how I am taking it. I feel waves of emotions: disbelief, sadness, anger, luck, stress, BOREDOM, even happiness. Sometimes.
As the pessimist that I am, I wasn’t surprised that my commencement ceremony was postponed and then cancelled. I wasn’t even sad when I read the email saying that they were unsure how they would go about recognizing the graduates of 2020.
But then I started thinking about my family. My dad who worked so hard to make sure that I had everything that I needed every year (for the past 17 years) before my first day of school. And my mom who worked night shifts at Walmart but who still made it home in time to take me to school as a teenager. And my sweet grandfather who walked me to the bus stop every single morning when I was in kinder and elementary school. Sometimes, I thought he stayed there all day waiting for me to come home because he was always there – standing in the same place – when the bus dropped me off in the afternoon. I always wanted my grandpa to be there when I walked across that stage to receive my diploma and now that I was weeks away from graduating, they announced that everything has been cancelled.
My grandpa is 98 years old and my dream was to see him at my graduation ceremony with his toothless grin and his white sombrero that he doesn’t go anywhere without – doing his little celebratory shoulder dance as I walked across the stage. I planned on waving at him once I sat down so that he could know where to look when it was my time to shine. And when I got accepted to Raza Grad, I planned on seeing his face of excitement when he saw the live music and performers. My grandpa has always loved a good show.
But this may never happen, and I’m not sure if I’ll ever see my little abuelito at my graduation ceremony. The thought of this hurts more than anything I’ve ever felt.
So, yes, I am 1SadGrad.
Not because I have to end my undergraduate career from the comfort of my home. Not because I didn’t get the chance to realize that my last day in class would be my last day in class. Not because I won’t get to say goodbye to my professors, classmates and friends that I met over the course of 4 years. Not because I won’t be able to go through my Alumnae Induction ceremony for my sorority where I would’ve received my graduation sash. Not because I won’t be able to go to Grad Fair and choose out a ridiculously priced grad-pack that includes a license plate holder that says “CSULA Alum.” Not because I won’t experience the rush of emotions as the days approach to my graduation ceremony. But because I won’t be able to see my family’s faces when I am one of the first to ever graduate from a university. I won’t be able to look through a crowd of people, trying to spot that white sombrero. I won’t be able to feel the warm May air as we all bask in the feeling of having worked so hard to get to that moment.
Instead, I will be graduating at home. My hard work will be commended in a congratulatory email from Covino and it will feel like a regular day.