Since the coronavirus pandemic has halted the usual life, universities around the country have shifted to distance learning and made all school-related activities online.

With just a few semesters left, the first batch of the K12 program of the Philippines will soon graduate from college. As a pioneering batch, this event is highly significant since these students took an additional 2 years in high school and have battled the adversities of distance learning.

For Viscans and any other students, overcoming long days of classes, hours of studying, countless sleepless nights, various challenges, and graduating from college amidst a pandemic is truly surreal. It is an accomplishment that evokes joy and fulfillment. It shows how students are willing to take a step forward despite the current situation.

But the current Viscan fourth-year students cannot help but feel a wave of emotions on the upcoming graduation in 2022. Here, we get to know their sentiments and expectations for their upcoming graduation:

Cristille, a BS Tourism Management student, has not yet lost hope for a face-to-face graduation by suggesting a plan to the University.

“I would suggest allowing fully vaccinated graduates to attend the graduation ceremony. Unlike before, the event is done for only a day, but I think it is possible to schedule each department and the programs as well, like a week-long graduation. On Monday, graduating students of the College of Management and Economics. Then Tuesday, College of Engineering, and so on. In that way, they can easily monitor the event and the people as well.”

But Christille clarified that she would not mind having a virtual graduation. After all, she believes that the safety of each student should be the priority.

A senior student called ‘Pan-Pan’ expresses excitement for the upcoming graduation but is a tad hopeless about having a face-to-face ceremony.

“I am excited knowing that I can finally graduate after 4 years of being a college student. I have been dreaming of this event since then. With the pandemic and the emergence of new coronavirus variants, I guess the graduation will be virtual; although, I am still hoping for a physical one.”

BS Agri-Business student Jaygee Yessamin Ramirez imagines that their upcoming graduation would be the conventional one.

“Since I am a part of the first batch of K-12 program, I imagine my graduation to be the traditional one. Every college student’s dream is to be able to wear a black toga and march on stage to receive their diplomas. In that way, we can feel that our parent's hard work and our dedication, as a student, have finally paid off. “

A senior student called ‘Jenny’ feels the lack of fulfillment in graduating online.

“To be honest, I don't feel accomplished graduating online. I hope for face-to-face graduation because there is a big difference between the conventional and virtual graduation. Nevertheless, I am truly grateful to graduate on time amidst a health crisis.”

Graduating Devcom student Jesiah Mar Santos believes that it is likely to have virtual graduation in 2022 and is willing to exert the utmost effort in media production.

“I don't know until when this pandemic will last, even the University too. Hence, I think our graduation will possibly be done virtually with slim chances of having it on a face-to-face set-up. If the university requires us to exert the best effort, then let's give that. Graduation is a culmination of all our hard work. If we were able to put our extreme efforts when we were still studying, then we can still give it during the preparation of our graduation. It's for the best, let's do our part.”

‘Rhina’ shares negative feelings toward the idea that they are about to graduate next year.

“As a K-12 pioneer, I feel anxious and unprepared to graduate next school year. Graduating from an online class seems to be unsettling. I do not know if I'm fully equipped for that day.”

Justin Bandalan, a BS Food Technology student, finds it better to stick with the virtual graduation for everyone’s safety.

“I know that we all hoped for face-to-face graduation. Due to the current situation right now, it is better if we stick with virtual graduation. Avoiding the spreading of the virus is more vital. There is no assurance that every person can follow proper health protocols, especially people with less background in microbiology.”

Development Communication student Al Vincent Cawayan shares that he would not mind graduating online and does not feel some sort of unfulfillment in not being able to graduate on stage because he trusts the VSU media team.

“If the University’s decision is to have a virtual graduation, then it’s not a problem for me. The University knows better for the safety of everyone. I’m still grateful because I know that VSU is just doing it for everyone’s safety, and I believe that the VSU media team will do their best to make the virtual graduation feel like a real one – face-to-face graduation.”

Senior student called ‘Biyang’ shares that supporting the University’s plan for their graduation is the best thing they could do.

“Despite all odds, I would support what the University wants for us graduates to have a proper closing ceremony. I think we are still blessed and thankful knowing that we can graduate by next year.”

These difficult circumstances seem to have given many seniors a unique sense of positivity and strength. One comforting thought that can hopefully help them is that they are not alone, and they are a part of a tight-knit community that supports and loves one another, especially in times of adversity.

College graduation is an event that only happens once in a lifetime. While the world is not in the most ideal situation, VSU will never settle for less.

Because once a Viscan, always a Viscan.

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