Photo by Thecla Li // THE CHIMES
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, college campuses have been left empty and everyone who was attending a university is now enrolled in online classes. Biola’s graduating seniors must cope with the inevitability of a postponed graduation ceremony.
Provost and Senior Vice President Deborah Taylor sent out an email on April 1 with an update on commencement—perhaps at a later date, it said.
According to another email from Taylor on April 22, Biola is working to help graduating seniors have a proper graduation ceremony when it finds an appropriate date. The university is joining more than 80 other schools in the country in either postponing or altogether canceling its commencement.
“The biggest loss of all is just missing the closure of the final stretch and graduation with all of my closest friends that I’ve been on this journey with for so long,” said senior engineering physics major Joey Cohen. “I had looked forward to graduating with five of my other housemates.”
According to Forbes, 40 out of 116 major companies have reported hiring freezes cancelations, or rescinding of internship or job offers. The graduating class has been grieving with one another—and the professors are mourning with them.
“They are all quite disappointed about the end of school not being together with their friends, not having a graduation ceremony, and many of them losing internships and potential jobs,” said professor of New Testament Matthew Williams. “In addition, most have moved home, with family. Which is sometimes hard since they were almost at the point of being on their own, and now they are living at home again.”
CANCELED AND POSTPONED PLANS
Along with the cancelation of a traditional graduation ceremony, post-grad plans have been put on hold. Whether a job was lined up or not, there will now be an even longer delay for recent graduates hoping to get a paying job.
Senior kinesiology major Raymond Kam was planning to take his last chemistry lab this summer. But now he doesn’t know if there are any options to fulfill that credit remotely. He wasn’t planning on taking a gap year—but because of the pandemic, that may change.
“From the looks of it, I might have to take some time off for COVID-19 to subside so that I’m able to finish the rest of my graduate school prerequisites,” Kam said.
Raymond Kam is one of many seniors who have to put their plans on hold—and panic is starting to rise among some in this class. Many fear that once the outbreak has receded and society returns back to business as usual, jobs will be sparing.
“I’m going to be honest, I am worried,” said senior studio arts major Ashley Logue. “A lot of us were already anxious about finding a job with a decent salary so we could move out of our parents’ houses, but now it feels like we’re all taking 10 steps back.”