Graduation Decision Signals Optimism
This move is the best Furman could have made given the circumstances.
After being unceremoniously mailed their diplomas and sent on their way, the Class of 2020 will have the opportunity to return to campus for their commencement.
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Over the last year, we have all missed out on important events in our lives as a result of the pandemic. One of the closest to home here at Furman was the Class of 2020’s graduation. After four years of work, their graduation ceremony was indefinitely postponed. Their accomplishments seemed to be for naught; they were unceremoniously mailed their diplomas and sent on their way.
However, almost a year later, both the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 received some good news: according to an email faculty received, the University has started to prepare plans for an in-person graduation ceremony this May. The current senior class and last year’s will have separate ceremonies.
This move is the best Furman could have made, given the circumstances, to make up for the cancellation of last year’s ceremony. While some of the Class of 2020 may, as has been expressed, feel that this makeup graduation comes a bit too late, it is still nice to see that last year’s graduates will have an event that allows them to celebrate their achievements with their peers.
However, the group that was probably the most excited to hear this news was the parents of the previous and soon-to-be graduates. Graduation serves as the transition between the end of most students’ academic careers and the beginning of their independent adult lives. For many families, this ceremony is one of the last major milestones in their child’s life before they strike out on their own. In addition, unless their child decides to pursue a graduate degree, graduation serves as a celebration of the culmination of their child’s academic career; they worked toward that moment from kindergarten all the way until the end of their senior year. By postponing graduation last year, this important coming of age tradition was seemingly lost for this class of students and their parents. Now, however, the families that lamented the loss of last year’s celebrations will still be able to see their child walk.
This development is also good news for those that aren’t graduating this year. Until now, there have been few in-person events on campus, and hardly any of them came close to the size of a graduation. If Furman is planning on hosting an event of that size on campus, that is hopefully a good sign for things to come. They would not be planning an event like this if they did not foresee improved conditions by the time of graduation. If they are willing to allow an event of this size, perhaps they will allow more in-person events of a smaller nature in the near future.
While no plans have been set in stone, the fact that any plans are being made for an in-person ceremony at all is a welcome sign, regardless of if you’ll be graduating in May or not. While those at the end of their academic career have something to look forward to in the coming months, everyone on campus can begin looking towards the future optimistically, as this announcement could signal an increase in in-person events and a beginning of a return to normalcy.