An Ode To The Graduating Class of 2021

Kelly Shea

The day is finally here – graduation. The day that seemed so far away just four short years ago when we first stepped foot on campus as freshmen. The day that seemed so far off when we were filling out our college applications.

During our time in college, we have endured more than many other graduating classes. We balanced sports, friends, and classes like any other group of college students. We had lunch in the Hive, dinner in the DC, and we would play catch with Vince on the quad every Friday morning. Everything seemed to be normal until March of our junior years when the world shut down for the Coronavirus pandemic. Back then, we thought that it would just be an extra week of spring break and a couple weeks of wearing masks before we could return to the classroom and resume our normal lives. Over a year (and three vaccines) later, not much has changed, but we have made it work, and we have been successful throughout all of this. We learned how to navigate Zoom classes, look for jobs, and finish off our college careers from our bedrooms. Spanning multiple states and countries, we made it work. Many of us even completed capstones and internships while social distancing.

While “Zoom University” definitely made finishing college difficult, students found ways to make light of a challenging situation. Professor Will Steffen took note of a comedic moment during a zoom class. “I noticed that some students were able to find a silver lining,” Steffen said. “I was pranked on at least one occasion when one of my students was ‘kidnapped’ on camera by a masked assailant. And while it was certainly disruptive in the moment to my compelling and heartfelt lecture on MLA style, I accepted my student’s apology after class. I think I can understand the need to shake things up in a zoom class every once in a while.”

For me personally, AIC has been such a blessing. All of the professors and administrators have allowed me to flourish in my career path in ways that I never thought possible. I will forever be grateful not only for the education that AIC has provided me but for the long-lasting friendships that I have turned into family.

When talking to seniors, it is apparent that the graduating class is thankful for all of the opportunities that AIC has provided for them. Amber Ollari discussed her experience with work studies. She said, “The best part was working for the career development office.”

Even with an unorthodox senior year, we have managed to find ways to remain successful through all of the adversity that we have faced. We managed completing classes from our computers, adhering to the ever-changing guidelines set in place to keep us safe from COVID-19, and balancing everything else that senior year has thrown at us.

We made it. Although graduation is virtual, we all deserve to throw our caps in the air and celebrate something that we have worked so hard for during the last four years.