Being in university during the pandemic was an experience that I hope no one has to go through again. We, as university students, are in so much debt, to the point that sometimes looking toward the future isn’t possible because the debt is blocking all of it.
But how did it feel to go through university during a pandemic? Quite honestly, it felt terrible, and I was miserable. Imagine paying more than $12,000 a year to be teaching yourself things, to be told by your professors that they do not understand how to do “this virtual thing” and that we need to do all the coursework ourselves and submit essay upon essay. With no guidance from the professors, no interactions between other students, I was in a depression.
I have now graduated from this university, and I graduated during the pandemic. Again, let’s think of the amount of debt I am in. More than $50,000 in debt and my graduation was on Zoom with a PowerPoint being shared of our pictures and the degree we graduated with. My university graduation was a PowerPoint. So, $50,000+ in debt for teaching myself and a PowerPoint graduation.
Still, I am to be grateful that I am alive and breathing. So many people did not make it through the pandemic. While yes, I can acknowledge that I am alive and that I did have the privilege of making it out of the pandemic, I also got a few important moments ripped away from me. Being able to walk across the stage, get my actual degree in hand, and hear my family cheer, that is what I was unable to do. I was unable to really appreciate my hard work of university. Not everyone can graduate university and that should be celebrated, not just in a PowerPoint. It is now a year and a half since I graduated, and now they want to do in-person graduations. How? How am I supposed to go to a city that I do not live in anymore and walk across a stage? My life has moved on, as that is what happens.
COVID-19 tried to keep us all locked down and not moving forward in life. I was miserable during my university time while in lockdown and furious that I could not have a graduation. I have since relocated provinces and trying to put my degree to use, but nonetheless struggling as we all still are from the aftermath of COVID-19.
Be grateful you’re alive, they say. You made it through the pandemic, they say. I am grateful I am alive, and I did make it through the pandemic. That does not minimize my pain, the struggle that I have been through during this time, and my emotions that I have felt during this.
We are young and this was a big chunk of our lives ripped away from us. Just like you, just like your parents, coworkers, family and friends. We are all human and this pandemic hurt us all in different ways. Be kind to all!