Graduating during a pandemic

Woman wearing graduation cap

Graduating during a pandemic presents a whole new set of challenges. Angie Quiroz Beltran, an SPC senior, tells of her academic experiences during COVID-19 and the obstacles she has overcome to graduate.

In less than a year COVID – 19 has changed the way we do things in more ways than one. In just a few weeks masks, hand sanitizer, and online activities became our new normal. Working from home and attending school online was a change most of us had to make. We had to understand that the classes we took would be different and the graduation ceremonies as we knew them would be a thing of the past. Throughout this pandemic, we had to change the way we interacted with people while following the new “rules” of social distancing. All while learning how to juggle the emotions, nuances, and changes that came with the COVID-19 pandemic.

During Fall 2020, I enrolled in MAN 4900 also known as Capstone, the last course in my degree in Business Administration, BAS.  The Team Capstone Project involves a company simulation game, in which a team of three students make every decision for an athletic shoe company and compete for first place with everyone else in this class. Before COVID-19, this class used to have a face-to-face component. This Capstone Project used to allow students to meet with their teams in person and have class meetings whenever necessary at EpiCenter. This provided students with important networking opportunities with their peers and professors. 

Previously, at the end of the semester, each team created a presentation and explained different components of their experience in this simulation and what they learned about operating a company. These networking opportunities were taken away when everything moved to Zoom and other online platforms, in order to accommodate this new normal.

Graduation, on the other hand, is something everyone looks forward to. It’s a reward for all the hard work put into the last four years; a chance to celebrate with family and peers and a step forward into your future. However, what does graduating during a pandemic look like?

Throughout the world, so many of us are forgoing the walk across the stage surrounded by those with similar accomplishments. Graduates now must exchange this ceremony for something safer. For us, it will be a ceremony on YouTube Premiere, for others, it will be a drive-thru ceremony and for some, it is postponed in the hopes that this pandemic will be over soon, and a “real” ceremony can take place.

While I am sure this has been a very challenging process for everyone, I can safely say that I learned that no matter what obstacles I faced, with dedication and help from my team members, family and friends, my goal of obtaining my BAS in Business Administration was possible. Although it will not be a normal graduation, achieving this goal is still worthy of celebration!

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