Class of 2020:
As I stand here on this glorious spring morning, wearing my day pajamas and staring out the window at my garbage cans, I can’t help thinking something’s wrong.
Isn’t there supposed to be some sheet cake involved? Not this year, I guess.
This has been a season of terrible losses. People have lost their lives, and families are grieving. Others have lost their jobs, their savings, their plans for the future. Many of you, I know, have suffered these things too. With losses on that order, it might seem frivolous to feel sad about losing your graduation ceremonies. But I don’t think so. A college graduation is a big deal; it’s important. And for many decades we have celebrated it in the same formal way—with pomp, circumstance and a lexicon of special terms—academic regalia; processing down the aisle; conferring of degrees. We want the day to be distinct, unmistakable, and linked to countless ceremonies of the past. No matter how many graduations I attend—and no matter how much of a hassle it is to get a parking space and catch the shuttle bus and find a seat—when the line of graduates finally appears and begins that last, long walk as college students, I feel like I might cry.
But you won’t get to have this very special event, four years in the making. Why not?
Because history found you.
An event that will change the way we live was sweeping around the globe, and it found you. As your long, strange spring break was extended week after week, the truth began to settle in: You were never going back to college. Not as a student, anyway. That part of your life had ended, and you never got to say goodbye to it.