Column: Bittersweet farewell

It’s strange to realize that I’m going to end my community college journey inside of my home, sitting on my couch dressed in my cap and gown watching my graduation ceremony virtually.

It sucks—realizing the worth and meaning of a graduation ceremony until it’s taken from you.

I don’t like the idea of us getting a virtual graduation. It’s like getting a participating trophy for being the class of 2020 and not for our achievements or our efforts.

I started out studying English, ready to transfer to Cal State University, Northridge (CSUN). Then I took a journalism class online for a requirement and fell in love with it.

I never thought of myself as someone who would be a double major, but I couldn’t decide between the two of them.

So, I chose to stay another year at Pierce and work hard to get my Associate Degree for Transfer in journalism and English.

When I broke the news to my parents, they were worried that I would be spending another year when I could have already transferred to CSUN.

But when they found out that I applied to the journalism program at California State Long Beach and got accepted—they were excited for me.

At first, I wasn’t excited about attending my commencement—I was focused on applying to the universities that I wanted to attend. I went to workshops and showed up to appointments with my counselor to make sure everything was on track for me to transfer.

But, hearing my parents be excited to see me at my commencement, I realize that it was more than just me.

The commencement ceremony was for my parents to see their daughter’s hard work pay off. I wanted to be at my graduation ceremony, not for me, but for my parents. To thank them for all the support they have given me through my journey at Pierce College.

When the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) gave us the news that our commencement ceremony would not happen this year, it crushed me.

I spent so many nights staying up late studying and working hard, pushing through many obstacles. Not being able to celebrate my success is demoralizing.

The motivation that I had at the beginning of the semester, to finish strong, is slowly waning away from me.

I always suffered from insomnia and depression, but over time I’ve been able to manage it.

There was a period in my life that my depression got so bad, I didn’t even want to leave my house and go to school. I just wanted to stay in bed and watch movies. But thankfully, I found something that made my depression and insomnia easier to deal with: going to school.

When the news broke that for the rest of the semester, our classes will continue online, I felt I was going to get an anxiety attack. I was thinking about how I was going to deal with my depression. I started scrambling around revising my daily schedule to plan how I would deal with online school.

It just seemed like blow after blow, I would get new updates about things getting canceled and things getting postponed. I couldn’t keep up.

But I’m not blaming anybody. This is a new charter territory for everyone, and I know that LACCD and Pierce College are trying their best to give the class of 2020 the next best option.

A virtual graduation is better than nothing at all, and I’ll take that as a consolation. At least I’ll be able to celebrate my achievements and efforts from the safety of my home with my family.

It’s a bittersweet end to my journey at Pierce, but at least I have the future to look forward to at Cal State Long Beach.

I know that because of my hard work, the help I received at Pierce and because of the support from my family, I’m one step closer to achieving my dreams and goals.