Campus Life / Education / Local

Going online, self isolating, delaying graduation challenge Norfolk State seniors

by Sarah Campos

As COVID-19 continues to make national history, Norfolk State University has encountered unprecedented times. Campus is closed off, and all classes have been switched to online. With students and teachers struggling to switch to virtual classes and attempting to keep normal educational standards, seniors have been hit the hardest.

After years of hard work to have the experience of walking across the stage to get a diploma, this dream has been crushed for the class of Spring 2020. Seniors are struggling to pass their now online classes for a graduation they will not receive in May, as well as potential dangers to their health, or their own anxiety over the circumstances. Although NSU is making plans to hold a subsequent commencement ceremony for seniors, many still feel discouraged.

“It has affected me in a huge way, not the way I imagined finishing up the last semester. My health and personal life has been affected as well as my everyday life,” said Bria Peterson, senior fine arts graphic design major.

Despite being heartbroken over graduation, Bria has had to be in self isolation within her own home since spring break. Already having asthma, Bria also had pneumonia at the break of this pandemic. Despite having to go to extra lengths to protect her health, she is still staying on top of her grades and refuses to have her diploma put in jeopardy. Bria plans on attending a subsequent graduation, although not all seniors were thrilled when this news was spread.

“When I first heard that a subsequent graduation would take place, I truthfully did not have the energy to even acknowledge that was what would happen for the seniors. I felt it was unfair. I later prayed to God about it and he helped me realize, the feeling of walking on the stage and graduating college is a once in a lifetime feeling. I owe it to my family, I owe it to myself. So I will be walking the stage with my cap and gown when the opportunity comes,” said Elizabeth Paz, senior interdisciplinary studies major with a concentration in military science and behavioral psychology.

Not being able to say farewell to her friends and professors has taken a toll on Elizabeth, and while this transition has been difficult, she continues to work hard.

And I, personally, do the same.

While I am writing this as a student reporter, as a senior myself, I am disappointed that I will not get the Army ROTC commissioning ceremony I have been working so hard for. To have my friends and family be able to join me as I take my Oath of Office to become an officer in the United States Army would have been a true blessing, but life must go on. Unfortunately, there will be no subsequent graduation for me, since I will be on active duty orders within July.

To my fellow seniors, although we are not getting the graduation we have dreamed of, waited for, and have worked for, no one can take away the work we have done or the accomplishments we have made. So, continue to challenge yourself and reach beyond your limits.