Introduction and interview by Caroline Skou, Holy Cross '20.
Graduation has always had a bittersweet quality to it. Walking across that stage is like a congratulations for surviving all-night library sessions, 8 a.m. classes, and communal showers. It can feel liberating. But on the other hand it marks the end of an era, and your diploma is an exit ticket for what many consider some of the best years of their lives. Seniors savor those last months of memories with their friends, but for the class of 2020, those memories were gone in a swift email from the administration. And for many, so was the possibility of graduation at all.
"Seniors savor those last months of memories with their friends, but for the class of 2020, those memories were gone in a swift email from the administration. And for many, so was the possibility of graduation at all."
To continue The Class of MMXX Story Series, I've interviewed Villanova senior, Christine. Like many others, the transition from living at school to moving home hasn’t been ideal, but she displays the resilience that is so prevalent in this generation.
Christine, could you walk us through how you found out about your school closing, where you were, what the first thing you thought?
We had just got back from our spring break, thinking everything would be okay for us since we were young and healthy college students. Little did we know, the week back was incredibly disorientating because as the situation was fluid, so was the information given to us by the administration. At first, Villanova said that classes would move online but that we were able to stay on campus if we choose to. Most seniors I knew wanted to stay on campus. Then the following Friday, as I was about to meet up with my friends, everyone suddenly got the email that campus would be closed and that we would have to leave by Sunday in accordance to the Governor’s orders of shutting down all PA schools for two weeks.
"Like many others, the transition from living at school to moving home hasn’t been ideal, but she displays the resilience that is so prevalent in this generation."
I was absolutely devastated and just a feeling of numbness hit me, I think. The first thing I thought was “Of course, this had to happen our year…What kind of luck do we have?” My friends and I still met up that afternoon for happy hour. It seemed like every senior had the same idea of spending as much time together as possible for the next 48 hours until we had to part. There were definitely tears. The idea of going from being surrounded by my friends all the time to basically being stuck at home with just family is shocking. It’s saddening to realize that this is the new normal that I just need to get used to.
I was absolutely devastated and just a feeling of numbness hit me, I think.
It’s so difficult to think that you won’t get to participate in so many anticipated senior events. But do you know if you'll be having a graduation ceremony, and how does it feel knowing you might not?
Thankfully, our university president emailed us saying an in-person commencement will be postponed (not cancelled!) to a later date when we are all safe. They said they are working on a way to confer our degrees through an online ceremony.
I knew this was coming considering other colleges have done the same, but it’s still disappointing to know that I won’t be able to walk in May. It just won’t be the same with the online ceremony. But I’m just glad they haven’t cancelled commencement all together.
It’s nice to hear that Villanova is still trying to celebrate your accomplishments. Until then, what are some fun and/or unique ways you’re keeping busy at home? And how are you keeping in contact with your friends?
At home, I’ve actually been cooking a lot with my mom. We try new recipes together and make my brother and dad taste them! When I’m not on zoom for my classes. I have also tried to do some watercolor paintings to soothe my brain. To stay connected with my friends we’re using Text, zoom, tagging each other in memes, having Netflix parties, and participating in Instagram challenges. But I really just want to go back to Villanova and give my friends a big hug.
But I really just want to go back to Villanova and give my friends a big hug.