The following is the opinion and analysis of the writer:
As a senior attending the University of Arizona, the so-called “best year of your life” was plagued for us all through the ever-so complicated challenges faced with COVID-19.
Through the past 13-plus months since school was moved online, the class of 2021 has gotten used to and almost began to expect that the traditions we had been looking forward to since our first days on this campus were to be added to the list of things we were no longer able to do.
While many of the hallmarks of our time at the University of Arizona, such as homecoming, football games, and in-person learning were taken away, one question was left in the minds of every senior: “Would we get graduation?”
A day that as incoming freshman felt like a lifetime away, but as slowly the days may go, the years flow by faster, and before we knew it, we were seniors preparing for one of the biggest moments of our life.
Through sustained community health efforts, through mask-wearing and vaccination distributions, the University of Arizona was able to host commencement in a COVID-safe format.
Now, as an alumnus, the days post-commencement allotted me the opportunity to reflect on having had the ability to have the chance to participate in the event signifying the culmination of my undergraduate career.
In keeping the University of Arizona campus and community informed with weekly briefings, President Robert Robbins and the COVID task force were able to keep our students, faculty and staff healthy. It allowed them to pull off eight days of commencement, with 16 ceremonies, and graduate thousands of new alumni.
Not only did this provide the class of 2021 the opportunity to walk the stage either at Arizona Stadium or Davis Center, but students were also allowed to have four guests in attendance.
Enforcing masks, distancing seating between groups, and larger venues with smaller attendances all allowed for a successful and memorable night not only for myself but the hundreds and thousands of other new graduates.
From conversations had with my classmates and close friends regarding the overwhelming feeling post-graduation, the most poignant remark made discussed the joy of being able to have graduation.
Appreciating the opportunity given for students to participate virtually and still be recognized, those that attended from both near and far from Tucson could not have been more grateful.
I know I speak for myself and others of our gratitude toward Dr. Robbins and every person at the University of Arizona that dedicated time and resources to help make one of the most memorable nights of our lives a possibility for the class of 2021.
Nupur Parikh graduaged the University of Arizona with a degree in neuroscience and cognitive science.