It’s that time of year. Graduation sees many families and friends traveling far and wide to see their loved ones walk across the stage in their cap and gowns. However, the graduating class of 2020 will not have that same opportunity. Because of COVID-19, the country has had to obey stay at home orders and practice social distancing. That means no large gatherings and no graduation on the originally planned dates.

“Family members have already bought plane tickets and hotel rooms to stay in. Not to mention the money spent on announcements. It’s mentally devasting as well because I have been in school on and off for over seven years. I was so happy to finally walk at graduation,” student Jenna Gross said.

She, along with many other students, will not get to experience the planned,traditional graduation ceremony and will not get to celebrate with family and friends. It might take place at another date and have a different feeling.

Another student, Heather Goodmancave, shares in the devastation.

“I was told to apply elsewhere when I initially started. I had the minimum GPA to get in. I never took no for an answer. I have been through a constant struggle to graduate. I am devastated graduation is pushed back. I worked so hard and to have this happen feels like another barrier placed on me by this institution,” Goodmancave said.

The students are not the only ones who feel the loss of graduation. APSU President Alisa White, hopes that graduation will happen, just at a later date.

“My hope, though, is that the ceremonies are delayed rather than cancelled. We want to give students the opportunities they deserve to celebrate their achievements. Although I am confident we made the right decision, I regret the need to delay Commencement exercises because I know how important they are to graduates and their families.”

President White also feels for the faculty and staff who also share in the graduation festivities, which do not get highlighted enough.

“Not only am I sad for our graduates and their families who must delay these celebrations, I’m sad for our faculty, staff, and administrators, who also love watching our students get their moments to be publicly recognized. They work hard to support students and enjoy seeing the payoff—students leaving with degrees and certificates that prepare them for a better future.”

Some schools across the nation are offering students to graduate this winter or next spring semester. Some students are celebrating in their own way too, having graduation at home, virtual graduation and even a drive-thru graduation. This gives some students, families, friends, faculty and staff something to look forward to and puts a new spin on celebrating a traditional event.