- Arts & Culture
- Language, Culture & Communication / Applied Linguistics
- Studying Abroad
Online Graduation: an (hopefully) unique experience
I HAVE GRADUATED!
How do you [mentally] prepare for an online graduation? How do you celebrate? How do you dress and what do you say? I didn’t imagine I’ll have to think about it. You wait for that special day when you have to put your graduation robe on, when your friends and family travel to celebrate everything that you’ve accomplished in three years of study. It should be a festive day and your only concern should be whether the British weather will be good enough for some nice graduation photos. This year, my concern was for the internet not to disconnect as they called out my name. An interesting concern for a graduation ceremony.
Ah…and those photos…photos with course mates, with friends from societies, with lecturers and professors. And yes…the grand finale, the photo of your cohort…the class of 2020. I’ll most probably won’t have a lot of those. But to be honest, take a moment to appreciate the group photo of the Applied Linguistics Department. Who else can say they have a cohort group gif instead of a cohort group picture? The credits go to my personal tutor, who’s apparently not only a great linguist, but someone with some serious editing skills also.
Now let’s start with the beginning. 14th of July: Online Graduation Day. Giving the nature of the event, I put some extra effort into dressing up. Instead of the classic home black tie of white shirt and pajama pants, I actually managed to look decent from the waist down also. Then, I decorated my room festively. By festively, meaning that I took some chairs from the kitchen for my special guests (mom, dad and little brother) and placed them in front of the TV so they could watch me graduating from front row. Now that I’m thinking, in a normal celebration, I could have only taken two people into the ceremonies’ hall, so this online graduation spared me from having to toss a coin.
It’s 14 pm. The ceremony is about to begin. People start logging in on Teams. Here we are. Someone plays a graduation song accompanied by a video. It may not seem too emotional, but I’ll be honest with you, I started crying right away. We hear a few words from the Dean of the department of Applied Linguistics, we hear our names being called out, some more professors take the floor, I explain to my family who is who and voila, in 40 minutes, the ceremony is over.
Was it emotional? Yes, it was. But the emotions I felt were rather peculiar. It was happiness and sadness all together, it was a moment of joy and sorrow. But not the usual sorrow of closing in an important chapter of your life. It was the sorrow of closing it in 40 minutes, so sudden, in your room, in front of your computer. The department did their best so that we don’t feel left out. I know we’ll also have a graduation planned somewhere in the future. I also celebrated with a small family dinner. It was nice and cozy, but different. Everything was so unexpectedly different that I don’t even know if I had the time to reflect upon the fact that I have graduated. However, this is was an experience that made me cherish even more the memories I’ve gathered in three years. Graduation day may not have been the most spectacular one, but those 40 minutes told me that from 2017 to 2020 I’ve accomplished a lot of great things.
To everyone graduating this year, a big congratulations and good luck making your way through this big, uncertain, but fascinating world.