Just over a week ago on Friday the 17th of July, I was meant to be graduating with a 2:1 in English from Plymouth University.
It was going to be a day of happy memories and a huge celebration of all the hard work I’ve put in over the last 3 years. But it’s not just me who is missing out.
Graduation is yet another thing Mr Covid-19 has taken from thousands of students who are left in a limbo. We’ve miraculously finished our degrees and then it all just kinda stopped —finishing my Dissertation, and writing my last assignments just don’t even feel like they really happened. The last part of our uni experience for many just disappeared in an instant without even a farewell wave.
I spoke to some 2020 graduates to find out how they are feeling and what they have been doing to find some form of closure. Following these discussions I’ve found 6 tips on of how you can find closure as a 2020 graduate.
1. Moving out of uni accommodation
Something I did was move EVERYTHING out of my uni flat in Plymouth.
On the journey down south I had an array of emotions; I was excited to see the flat, sad that this could be my last time in the flat, and scared about what creatures may have inhabited my room since I jumped ship over 3 months ago in March.
I’d actually only had about 5 hours sleep the night before because I was so nervous about it and what it meant to be moving out (aka. I’m no longer a student, I’m a real adult and need to get my life together— which is really hard considering the current situation we are all facing which has meant unemployment rates are so so so high right now!). But at the same time I was also excited to see my little home again — and collect my favorite mug!
It was a weird feeling seeing my room empty like that. I’ve never moved house before and although I lived in and moved out of uni halls in first year, it never felt like my home there so I wasn’t really sad to be leaving there. And back then I knew I was coming to my lovely 26b home.
I was really shocked at the time we were leaving that I didn’t get all emotional while I was there, but looking back I think it’s because I still didn’t get any actual goodbyes.
Moving out has given me some closure in that no part of me is physically in my uni city- there’s now no need to actually return and as sad as that is it has helped me stop looking back as much.
2. Hosting a virtual Summer ball
With the sudden end to my third and final year at University many celebrations and end of term events were cancelled. One of which was the Psychology ball. I loved the previous two year’s balls, always held at the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Birmingham. It was always a great way to celebrate our achievements and have fun with my coursemates. Due to lockdown and the event being cancelled, my friends and I decided to have a virtual ball to celebrate completing the final year of our degrees. We all dressed up and took pictures in each of our gardens, grabbed a drink and joined a zoom call to chat and celebrate! The best part was recounting our favourite memories of the past three years while we all had our video call backgrounds set to pictures of the Botanical Gardens.Jess Cross ~ University of Birmingham
3. Meet ups online or socially distanced picnics with uni mates
If you are lucky enough to still be in your uni city, or live near your uni mates, then I think this is a great tip from Freya!
I am a 2020 graduate (getting my results today at some point..!) It has been really hard and I have felt very disjointed. Back in March I went to my last lecture and when I walked out of it I had no idea it would be the last one. Absolutely gutted. I got very anxious to start off with when the lockdown happened as I was worried about not having access to the library.
My course mates and I have been doing regular catch ups over lockdown over video call and the other day we all got together for a socially distanced picnic and glass of bubbly. Luckily our graduation has only been postponed till March 2021 and not cancelled so we are so lucky in that respect.Freya Williamson – Bournemouth university
4. Settle into life back home and celebrate with family
Finding little ways to celebrate has been great, we’ve done a meal out to celebrate in a pub garden, I’ve had lots of lovely cards from family and friends.
I’ve also redecorated my room at home to have a new environment to live in and help me feel more settled rather than seeing it as being my childhood bedroomLily Smith- Plymouth University
5. Be Proud of your achievements
To say that finishing university during a pandemic was strange is a massive understatement. The unexpected university closure back in March stopped us from saying goodbye to friends, with another cruel blow coming in the form of a delayed graduation ceremony. Whilst we are incredibly grateful to be fit and healthy, our university experience was not what we thought it would be. Nevertheless, we take comfort in that fact that WE WILL meet our friends again and WE WILL officially graduate. Until then, be proud of your achievements and enjoy not having to study for exams or write coursework for the foreseeable futureThe Millennial Diaries (Annabel, Dasha, and Saskia) – University College London
6. Be patient - Hold out for an actual Graduation
Hopefully one day soon we can have the send off I’m sure we are all longing for. I guess that’s my main advice for any fellow class of 2020 graduates: hold out for the day that we hopefully will get some closure and feel less like we are in limbo between being a student and finding employment. And also graduations have just been postponed so fingers crossed that one day it will happen in our uni towns – with the hugs, and parties like we had planned!
Thanks for those of you who got in touch and got involved in this weeks blog post. And thanks to you lovely readers for reading – I hope these tips help x