Graduation is still happening for many students this year. It may look a little different, with so many things changing due to COVID-19.
As a senior myself, I wanted a “normal” graduation. I worked for four years to graduate on time and have memories of college and friends. I wanted the whole package, the graduation pictures, announcements and for my whole family (even the parts of the family that no one seems to get along with) to come to Pullman in May. This all changed very quickly, when graduation was postponed and an online ceremony was scheduled. This extra time can be used to go all in on graduation, taking the pictures and sending out announces to loved ones.
“I am very disappointed that graduation was moved to being online and probably won’t watch it. My parents haven’t said anything about how they feel and no one else in my family was going to come,” said Kathlene Roberts, a senior studying English and psychology.
For the photographers out there looking to take graduation pictures, it seems that they are having just as hard of a time during this season of social distancing.
“Before the corona danced its way into our lives, I used to go on a shoot at least twice a week. They’re now rolling in once every few weeks. Shoots used to be fun and interactive because I had the chance to help the model pose and fix their appearances, but now I try my best to give verbal instructions and just shoot and hope for the best,” said Elliott Wong, a junior majoring in technology and advertising.
The mandatory distancing has changed interactions, the distance between the photographer and the student has made their job more challenging. The six feet quickly starts to feel like 200 feet when looking for the perfect angle.
“I haven’t been able to get pictures and probably won’t because I live alone. I have announcements and they are going to be sent whenever I get to it,” Roberts said.
Many students have had to shift their focus to money and plans after college. The issue is COVID-19 has changed plans in the present and the future.
“As much as I love having photography and videography as a hobby, I have also been relying on it as a source of money. The coronavirus has slowed down business dramatically,” Wong said.
Luckily, a little money is being saved by not going outside of the house. There are less coffee runs and more Netflix nights. A majority of students have been able to save money by moving home.
“I’ve also lost a majority of my grad clients this semester due to them not returning back. For the few shoots I still do, it has been challenging to keep a good flow. A lot of people do not know how to pose naturally and being at least six feet away makes it hard for me to help them,” Wong said.
Remember, if you are a graduate you are not alone. There are many other students who are struggling.
“Graduation pictures are one of the few things that are not completely taken away, so if you were and were not planning on doing them, I recommend going all in,” Wong said.
This social distancing and the COVID-19 virus is a historical event that future generations will likely not experience. The only way to have a sense of normalcy, is to set up a time to take pictures and send out graduation announcements.
“I would tell other seniors it’s okay to be upset even though this isn’t ‘the worst thing to be happening right now’.’ Your feelings are valid,” Roberts said.
So be angry, be mad, but remember you are never alone. The world may seem dark right now, but I can guarantee a little gratitude and going through the motions can help. Graduation only happens a few times (if you count kindergarten graduation), so I recommend taking pictures and enjoying the remainder of senior year.