Column: Dreaming of a graduation

I feel that my accomplishments were taken away from me, and all the hard work my parents put in to watch their daughter graduate has been stripped away because of this pandemic.

Although I will still be moving forward, the absence of graduation has left me feeling a sense of frustration.

In 2018, I had the privilege to graduate from high school, and it was my first graduation in the United States.

Every single detail and moment was magical. The emotion of walking towards my parents with a cap and gown, my diploma in my hand and to proudly hug them, was the best feeling ever.

I still consider it to be one of the best days of my life. For my parents, it’s also the best day of their lives. They still talk about it with family and friends.

Graduations are rare in my family because not everybody has the opportunity to choose a career. I am the only one in my family that has graduated from high school, and now I’m also the first to graduate from community college.

When I started going to Pierce College, I didn’t think I would be able to finish or even graduate within two years. But the professors and counselors were so helpful and motivated me to work hard and keep going until graduation day.

I’m the class of 2020, but without a graduation ceremony. I worked so hard to be able to graduate from Pierce in two years, but in the end I’m not able to enjoy as I dreamed.

As students, we can see our achievements throughout the years: the long sleepless nights, overcoming anxiety from class presentations and the many sacrifices we made to meet deadlines.

We see graduation day as an honor, but for the class of 2020, we’re not going to have one.

A virtual graduation is not the same. There isn’t a feeling of adrenaline to be on campus with your family, classmates, professors and the people who supported you.

Instead, we’ll be at home waiting to be connected to a Zoom conference or Facebook Live ceremony.

Although the class of 2020 is invited to a rescheduled, in-person graduation ceremony, it isn’t the same because many students are transferring to other universities or starting a new job that may be out of state.

More than anything, it hurts that all the effort and sacrifices my parents endured to see me graduate, has been taken away due to this pandemic.

If anything, this situation has motivated me more to keep going. I know that with the help of God and my parents, I will make all my dreams come true.