Students from elementary to college wait for snow days, long weekends and random cancellations all year long since this gives them a chance to spend time with friends, away from the world of structured class times and detention. However, when schools across the country canceled classes due to COVID-19, emotions varied, especially for seniors.
Leaving for spring break, little did graduating seniors know that it was the last time they would be a traditional college student. For many seniors, their busy lives in College Station would come to a sudden halt with no chance to say final goodbyes to the place and people they called home for four-plus years.
Hannah Fawcett, an english senior, had been seeing other colleges suspending classes amid the COVID pandemic and knew it was only a matter of time before her senior year would end. Hoping for some closure, Fawcett refreshed her email frequently until she saw the email that ended her college experience.
“When I got it I definitely cried a little bit, because it was like a nail in a coffin,” Fawcett said. “I was already so bummed about college ending and then it ended in just one email.”
She can see her friends again, but the chance to say goodbye to professors is what Fawcett said she will miss the most. Fawcett said it is hard to believe that the last class before spring break with her professors was the last one ever.
“Going to class and having that relationship with professors, right now that is something that is done,” Fawsett said. “I am still hoping to see friends, but learning hands-on from professors and forming relationships with them is over and that is so sad.”
These final weeks of college come with realization and reflection for many seniors on the journey they embarked on as young adults. One big milestone to starting a new life is walking across the stage in Reed Arena with friends and family celebrating one of your biggest accomplishments.
Because English senior Zoe Sherman was homeschooled prior to attending A&M, this was the first time she would ever walk the stage in a cap and gown. When commencement was postponed, Sherman was heartbroken. She would not get to sing the war hymn with her class or celebrate with her family, a long line of Aggies.
“Graduation really meant the world to me,” Sherman said. “I know that not walking across that stage doesn't diminish my accomplishments in any way, but I really wanted that bookend moment, to have the chance to turn the page on this chapter before moving on to the next.”
Being a first-generation college student, biomedical sciences senior Lesly Gill said attending a university like A&M was a dream come true for her and her family. Her final steps across the stage are not only to celebrate her accomplishment, but more importantly to thank her parents for their sacrifices that allowed her to be in this position. Gill said if she is unable to take that final step, she and her family will be devastated.
“I was going to be the first of my family to go to college,” Gil said. “My brother followed my footsteps and now he attends Dartmouth College, even he felt sorry that I was not going to have graduation as he understands the work that we as college students put in to receive our degree.”
Taking a positive outlook on this situation, political science senior Caroline Moore hopes to embrace her memories of college and take this time to focus on her next steps.
“I appreciate the changes that are happening, especially because members of my family are higher risk,” Morre said. “These changes allow me to be more accessible during my job hunt and closer to my family. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t have my official lasts but I’m happy with the experiences I’ve had already.”
Facing a lack of motivation to continue on, Sherman has held on to a quote from the movie “JoJo Rabbit” that she said made her realize there is so much she gained from A&M and hopes everyone can look towards the future, as they hold their college memories close to their hearts.
“‘Let everything happen to you; beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.’"