Seniors reflect on graduation amid COVID-19

Kelsie Stevens | Banner | Students of the graduating Class of 2019 wave to their family and friends while walking into the commencement ceremony held in the California Baptist University Event Center.

California Baptist University’s Executive Council announced March 16 the postponement of all spring commencement ceremonies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The postponement left seniors at CBU and those across the United States in similar situations feeling confused and disappointed about the end of their college careers.

The pandemic has affected everyone in diverse ways. However, the graduating class of 2020 is one group of students experiencing an especially unprecedented occurrence: the postponement of their graduation ceremonies. Spring commencement exercises were pushed back from their original dates, April 28 and 29, to Aug. 19 and 20.

“I expected an email to come about graduation being postponed,” said Shelby McDonald, senior psychology major. “It is disappointing because I was looking forward to graduation. It is a big deal for me because I am the first in my family to graduate college. At this point, I am glad they are still having a graduation for us. But, it is also sad because some of my friends plan to move out of state and won’t be able to attend graduation at all as a result.”

In an email sent to all current students, the CBU Executive Council elaborated on its decision to postpone spring graduation ceremonies.

“University leaders decided to delay spring commencement activities just hours after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended canceling or postponing in-person events involving 50 or more people throughout the United States for the next eight weeks,” said the Executive Council in an email.

With the current emergency crisis unfolding across the nation, many individuals find it difficult to see the silver lining.

Antonio Guevara, senior biology major, said he has found a positive outlook while living through a global pandemic.

“I’ve learned to appreciate what’s around me and realizing education is the willingness to learn,” Guevara said. “CBU is providing me tools like the OneSearch Catalogue and ‘JoVE’ (to) help during this time.”

McDonald also found a positive outlook on the situation.

“One positive takeaway from all the chaos is that literally nothing is in my control,” McDonald said. “But I know that this all was God’s plan all along and he will be glorified regardless.”

Currently, all students who are ordered by state and federal officials to stay home are now finding their own ways to manage this turbulent season in history.

“I cope by FaceTiming and staying indoors,” Guevara said. “One of the first things my friend said was that we must give all our anxieties to God – after all, he is strong enough to handle it. Caring for one another is very important during this time.”

McDonald said she has also found things to do during this time at home.

“I cope with the anxiety and uncertainty through prayer and clinging to truth in God’s word,” McDonald said. “I also try to find fun and creative ways to spend my time with my family and with friends.”

This is an unparalleled season in the history of CBU and the safety of all students, staff and faculty is of highest importance to the university.

Students are expected to follow the guidelines made by the CDC and government officials. During this time, students are also encouraged to regularly check their LancerMail for future updates from the university concerning their response to the evolving COVID-19 crisis.

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