The Class of 2020 Graduated During a Pandemic: How Will This Impact Them?

Class of 2020 graduated online

As COVID-19 sweeps the nation, the Class of 2020 is looking out at a bleak new reality.

It was a strange day for the Class of 2020. This year, for the first time ever, graduates received their digital diplomas as the world hunkered down in quarantine.

Graduation day has always been a profound rite of passage. As you walk across the stage to receive your diploma, you hear the cheers of your family. In that moment your heart swells with pride. Now families across the country gathered around their smartphones, tablets, and laptops to attend their loved ones’ graduation.

“I hope that everyone stays encouraged and understands the current condition of our world can’t really take away the joy and pride that we have for one another,” said Forrest, a secondary education and history major who graduated from Temple University. 

How will graduating during a global pandemic affect the Class of 2020? Here are a few ways to help them cope:

There’s Bound To Be Fear – Go Easy on Them 

Many soon-to-be graduates are peering out at a pretty bleak world. Their once sky-high dreams now seem dashed. Will I ever get a job? Will we go through a recession? What are my hopes for the future?

According to Nancy Darling, a psychology professor at Oberlin college,  “If you are a parent, recognize that difficulties landing a job are going to be normative this year, not a problem unique to your children. Listen to their frustrations first, without trying to solve their problems. Offer concrete suggestions, introduce them to helpful people you know, proofread when asked – and be encouraging.”

Accept Disappointment and Let Them Express It

Some graduates are angry about losing out on the experience of a real graduation. At Del Tech college, where graduates were given a week’s notice that their ceremony would be virtual, “the decision…was met with backlash from upset students,” according to The News Journal. More than 100 had commented on the college’s Facebook post, calling on administrators to postpone the ceremony for a later date.

The truth is these graduates have the right to feel a little gypped. They worked hard and deserve to let their emotions flow. Encourage them and try thinking outside the box as a way to celebrate through the quarantine.

Now is the Best Time to Offer Support 

Moving back in with their parents or taking a dead-end job might be on the cards for the Class of 2020. After working to be independent, this could result in quite an ego blow. Offer these graduates support in any way you can from offering internships to encouraging social networking.

Alumni Direct is a great way for college grads to stay in touch after graduation, network with valuable connections or enhance job prospects. Did you know that unlike many alumni relations department, Alumni Direct is built by real alumni who know how important those alumni connections can be?

Don’t Give Up

If you are a Class of 2020 graduate, hang in there! The world is changing and the skills you garnered in college will most definitely come in handy in your future job prospects. Above all, remember that your collegiate experience was only partly about the academics because the memories you have made will last a life time.

Good luck!

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