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Graduating During Quarantine

With school ending as an online experience, I did not get the closure I was expecting for my senior year. I had had so many last-time experiences planned to close out my final semester at Pepperdine. Whether it was the senior sunset or just going to the beach with friends, I was getting ready to begin the process of closing that chapter of my life. But in a blink of an eye, I was back home in Minnesota without saying goodbye to my friends or professors and my college experience was done. That was the hardest part of quarantine.

Grace Cummins and friends pictured together outside

Ending Senior Year on Zoom

As a senior, many of my classes were discussion based. This format was challenging to re-create virtually because everyone was in a different environment. Some students were not comfortable sharing because they did not want a family member to hear. Some students were in different time zones, and some had responsibilities where they were residing that they did not have when on campus.

As the physical separation changed the dynamic of my classes, I found it difficult to learn from home. With only a month left of my college career, I should have been proud and excited for what was to come, but due to quarantine all I wanted was to be done with school. I missed my friends, professors, and routine.

Graduating at Home

When I envisioned my college graduation, I thought of walking across the stage on Alumni Park rather than marching ceremoniously across my kitchen. I was expecting to be excited because I had worked hard for the past four years. Even though the ceremony was not what I imagined, my family made me feel proud of my accomplishments. My family went above and beyond to make me feel special on that day and for that I am thankful.

Gace Cummins and friend sitting on a rock with a pink sunset behind them

The Next Step

Of course, I was expecting to be employed after graduation, but not many companies are hiring or if they are, they are looking for people with much more experience than I have. I was hoping to be an event planner or project coordinator, but those positions are not available during this time.

It can be discouraging to see fewer and fewer job postings every day, but I know that God will provide. As I wait to hear back from places that I have applied to and continue the interview process, I have come to view this time as a blessing. I get to have a bit of summer vacation when I did not intend to, spend time with my family, and just slow down. While my senior year and transition into the next phase of my life have been full of unexpected events, I am grateful for the many blessings that I have and the community around me that has supported me during this time and made quarantine much easier.