Like many others, when I first heard the news that COVID-19 had reached the United States, I didn’t let it worry me. But in the span of just a few weeks, it completely altered my living situation, my schooling, my future plans and my career path. At first, I was preoccupied with how unfair the situation felt. As a graduate student, I’ve spent the past two years looking forward to completing my capstone, finishing my degree, and celebrating my graduating and hooding ceremonies with friends and family. In the blink of an eye, it felt like all my plans and the rewards of my hard work were taken away from me.
As the weeks have moved on and we’ve all began to adapt to our new normal, I’ve also begun to come to terms with how my life has been altered. If you and your student have found yourselves in a similar situation, take time to let yourselves grieve. Although missing graduation or other ceremonies might feel like a minor inconvenience in the wake of a global catastrophe, it’s still something we’ve worked for and looked forward to for many years. It’s normal and valid to feel sad for what we’ve lost.
Despite the situation, we must all try our best to make the best of the present. In my case, though I greatly miss having the opportunity to attend classes every week on campus, I’m still able to make the most of my last semester through Zoom, Canvas discussions and emailing my professors. I’m also fortunate enough to spend time with my family, video chat with my friends and continue to make the most of every day.
Looking forward to the future has been one of the toughest thoughts for me through this pandemic, as I’m sure it is for many of your students. As I’m graduating with my Master of Arts degree in Public Relations in May, I was counting on using much of the spring for job hunting. Now most hiring, and my future career, has been put on ice. But as much as it hurts to think of what could have been, it isn’t good to dwell on what we can’t control. In the coming months, I’ll use this opportunity to improve my resume, apply for open positions and prepare myself for when the country reopens.
Although my physical time at Emerson was cut short and I’m finishing my degree in a way I never would have anticipated, I have and will continue to find sources of light in the darkness. As you and your family continue to navigate these uncertain times, take time to both mourn what was lost and look forward to all that lies ahead. As Emersonians, together we will navigate and overcome these unprecedented times.