The New “Normal” for Graduation

By: Morgan Davis | Contributor

Just short of a year ago, COVID-19 was declared a national emergency. The following months were filled with several changes and updated procedures to ensure everyone’s safety. 

For South, graduation ceremonies had to be altered right away.

“It definitely wasn’t how I have always pictured graduation to be like,” Drew Golfos, USA Fall 2020 graduate said.

In cooperation with COVID protocol, South determined that it would be safer for everyone to not permit any guests to speculate during the ceremonies. They were allowing only graduating students to participate while social distancing and wearing masks.

Golfos commented on the specific impact it had on his family. 

“I have a huge family that all would have loved to have been able to witness, in-person, one of the biggest moments of my life up to this point,” said Golfos.“I completely understand the circumstances and agree with the new procedure to keep everyone safe, but they were definitely disappointed.” 

All college students dream of the day they walk across the stage, a degree in hand, and toss up their caps in unison with their peers, all while everyone’s families and friends surround them and cheer them on. 

The new procedures for graduation ceremonies take away this aspect of graduation. Understandably, graduates can feel let down. 

Erin Williams, a senior, is quickly making her way towards graduation herself. Expecting to graduate in Fall 2021, she’s coming to terms with the new graduation experience. 

“Honestly, I’m just happy South is offering a live stream option so that my family can at least watch me walk across the stage,” said Williams.  “It won’t be the same traditional graduation like I got to see my sister experience, but it’s still something I’ll be proud of, my family too.” 

Recently, South has announced that the Spring 2021 graduates will invite four people to join the ceremony and celebrate with them in person. They have advised that social distancing and masks will still be enforced.

More information can be found on South Alabama’s website.