Andrea Gordon

Frantic loved ones, check. Wrinkled gown, check. The smell of freshly cut grass, check. Waking up to multiple missed “congratulations” texts, check. Sunglasses, maybe not. Hair that barely fits under my cap, check.

Every student lives in anticipation of one day. Graduation. On this day, myself and many others are finally given the recognition that we deserve. The accolades that come from nights spent with broken hearts, no money for books, or food. Those nights spent questioning our worth, it would all make sense on this day.

On this day, I think to myself, “Ramen didn’t taste that bad.” On this day, every tear feels like it wasn’t wasted, I realize just how necessary those low points were. Those were the times that made me realize just how much heart I had.

As uncertainty and emergency quickly began to spread through media outlets and the streets of our cities, came the closing of schools, and cancellations of many activities. “They wouldn’t,” words that many of us mumbled to ourselves quickly transformed into tears formed in our eyes and loss of hope. When the news of the “postponing of graduation” came about, a certain numbness came over my body. To prevent my anxiety from getting the best of me I chose to ignore the news. But as I realized, ignoring it would not make the pain go away nor would it change the circumstance.

No one around me besides those peers who were planning to cross that same finish line May 2 could seem to understand why I didn’t want to talk about anything concerning graduation. The constant reminder of what wouldn’t be. “You may still walk at a later time,” many murmured. “What about the high school students? They don’t get a prom."

These are all things that I know many of us have heard since the news broke.

Are these things true? Sure, but just because they are doesn’t mean that our emotions aren’t valid. May 2 wasn’t just a day for many of us. For some, May 2 was the day that a family would have the chance to finally come together for something that wasn’t a funeral. For many May 2 would be the day of the first-generation college graduate. May 2 would have been the day of clarity that many of us have longed for. It would have been a day of pure joy, love, and celebration.

So imagine being the senior who received this news.

Due to COVID-19, this became the reality of many seniors across the globe. Worse than that, the spread of this virus has negatively impacted many of our lives. Death, scarce resources, loss of income, we are facing hard times as a collective.

But what brings me joy is knowing that the same heart that has gotten me through restless nights, losing family, financial struggles, piles of homework, many projects, mid-terms, working multiple jobs, helping family out, all while being a full-time student is a heart that luckily isn’t unique in this time.

In everything going on one thing has been made clear to me, though our journeys are different, our paths are different, our majors all different, there is one thing I know for sure the entire class of 2020 has in common. The heart of a Griffon beats inside the chest of every graduate.

I am confident that just like every other time we were under pressure, faced with adversity, and were expected to deliver, in this time of uncertainty and darkness I am confident that there is a Griffon now prepared and ready to help better serve even under these circumstances.

As a final thought, I’d like to say to the graduating class of 2020, place your hand across your heart, allow silence to take over space and listen. That noise you hear is the pumping of a heart still deserving of the accolades, a heart that is stronger than ever before, the noise you hear is the sounding of triumph, the sound of hope and faith.

As times worsen before they get better and it becomes harder to find a silver lining, remember that, the heart you hear pumping has taken heavy hits in the past years yet here you are fingers almost touching a diploma, that heart is stronger than ever before.

As you prepare for the next steps in the up and coming journey remember, the heart of a Griffon lives inside of you. There is no pandemic strong enough to take away what you’ve already accomplished and what you are soon to achieve.

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