Opinion: ‘I don’t care if I have to get my diploma at 30:’ A senior’s thoughts on commencement cancellation

By Jacob Lorenz, Staff Reporter

Courtesy Jacob Lorenz
Staff reporter Jacob Lorenz’s high school graduation photo, taken in 2015.

COVID-19 has brought the world to a screeching halt and everyone is trying to play catch up. As a senior in my last semester of college, this was not the way I thought it would be going. 

Leaving for spring break I had heard rumors the coronavirus could get out of hand and worst-case SIU would extend spring break. Within the span of a week everyone went from “see you after the break” to “see you never?”

On one hand, this has been sort of nice. I already consider myself a homebody so staying in my apartment away from people wasn’t a problem. I caught up on readings for class and even did some spring cleaning. 

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I’ve been treating each day as a Sunday, relaxing while trying to do something productive around my apartment, like scrubbing my kitchen floor. 

But on the other hand, this is all quite scary. All classes are now online, all public events are canceled, no one is allowed in restaurants. SIU even canceled the class of 2020’s commencement ceremony in May. 

SIU still doesn’t know exactly what it is going to do about graduation. They could skip it completely or delay the ceremony until December but nothing is set in stone because no one knows how long this quarantine will last. 

My feelings on the matter aren’t set in stone either. The craze of the pandemic feels so unreal that I could wake up from a dream at any moment; I feel numb. I believe my feelings will catch up with me come May when I’m done with school and no celebration to look forward to. 

There is a petition to reschedule SIU commencement that already has over a thousand signatures. Personally, I would love it if SIU just rescheduled instead of skipping or trying to do it virtually. I don’t care if I have to wait until I’m 30, I want to walk across that stage, shake hands and receive my diploma and throw my cap into the air.

I don’t care if I have to wait until I’m 30, I want to walk across that stage, shake hands and receive my diploma and throw my cap into the air.”

— Jacob Lorenz, class of '20

But I can wait. This pandemic is a very serious matter that should be taken seriously. Just because as a healthy 23-year-old I will more than likely shake off the coronavirus if I catch it, doesn’t mean the person I happen to give it to can shake it off too. 

Please be responsible and take the necessary precautions to make sure the virus doesn’t spread. The faster everyone is on the same page and doesn’t believe COVID-19 to be a political conspiracy hoax, the faster it will go away and everyone can live their lives again. 

Staff reporter Jacob Lorenz can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @jtlorenz6.

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