Making Sense of Graduating in a Pandemic

A senior reflects on marking the end of an era virtually

Graduation is one of the most anticipated moments of a student’s career.

It goes beyond just walking on the stage and waiting for a diploma with your name on it. Graduation means waking up every day for 13 years at 6 a.m., running behind the bus because you were late, feeling embarrassed on the first day of school. Graduation is jumping for joy because you were able to get an A+ on that exam that you never thought you’d pass. It’s befriending not only your classmates, but also your teachers, administrators, cooks or school cleaners.

Members of the Class of 2020 at last year’s Powder Puff game.(Photo by Todd Dandelske)

Because graduating is not just seeing your name on paper. It is creating a family with people you never thought you’d meet. People from other parts of the world, who do not even speak your language or share your religion, but despite everything you have something in common. They are there for the same reason as you: to be someone in the future. 

Graduating goes beyond all those frustrating moments of being unable to sleep because you had to study for an exam. It is running to your house to see your mom and tell her the things you did at school, tell her that your teacher chose you as the student of the week, tell her that each task was important because someday she will see you go up on that stage to receive that sheet with a stamp.

Because that is what being a student is, just a role. What really matters are all those moments that you lived.

Everything we did for 13 years was not just to wear a cap and a gown.

— Pablo Toledo, senior

Everything we did for 13 years was not just to wear a cap and a gown. It’s that all our efforts, and those of our parents, are reflected in us. Graduating is finding yourself, and without realizing it forming a new family. And although at the moment it is hard to accept that we will not be able to have a ceremony as I would have liked, it is important to know that we have the best memories stored in our hearts.

Pablo Toledo is a member of the Class of 2020.