View graduation as a process

As I conclude my time as editor-in-chief at The Banner I am also concluding my time as a student at California Baptist University. Although the first three years of my education at CBU were overall the “typical” college experience, this past year and a half has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While all students will experience changes in their educations because of factors such as online classes and lack of campus life, those graduating in 2021 and 2020 will see the biggest change in the structure of their graduation ceremonies.

However, as I reflect on my time at CBU and my entire college experience, I see the graduation ceremony as less of a stepping stone than I originally viewed it before senior year. 

Prior to 2020, I could not imagine not having the chance to walk across the stage and accept my diploma. But once the reality of the pandemic and the lasting effects of it on large group gatherings and every day life became apparent, I mentally prepared for the fact that I might not have a typical senior year or graduation experience.

If there’s one thing I have learned from the past year, it has been to adapt and set aside my assumptions on how things will go. Along with this, I have learned that for me, graduating is not a singular isolated event but it has been a process.

I have been in the process of graduating since I first stepped into my classes freshmen year and that process continued virtually as I and the rest of the student body adapted to remote learning. 

Graduation is the slow progression through a chosen major, it is recognizing what you want to do with that major and pursuing a career path or internship. It is surrounding yourself with friends at school who encourage you and inspire you in your education.

Realizing all of this, I have come to terms with the fact that while singular events such as graduation can be memorable and special, they are not necessarily the most important part of one’s life. 

Although I am thankful that CBU will be able to hold in-person graduation and that I will get the chance to walk across a stage and accept a diploma, I am more thankful for the ways I have grown and the things I have learned throughout the entirety of my college experience.

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