Illustration by Dakota Cox

The class of 2021 scrambles to reach the finish line

Seniors surrender to an unexpected finish to their college career
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Seniors surrender to an unexpected finish to their college career

Mary Swisher is a senior Humboldt State University athlete and an elementary education major who’s been impacted tremendously by the pandemic.

“It’s honestly quite heartbreaking that this pandemic ended my collegiate career early,” Swisher said. “I also haven’t seen my family since coming to school in August because of the rules that Athletics has put forward.”

Previously, Swisher’s education involved fieldwork and equipped in-person classrooms now, classes are strictly on Zoom and involve limited interaction with others.

“All of the rules are in good meaning and are necessary,” Swisher said. “But I haven’t seen anyone but my roommates in months.”

Madison Kiser, an HSU senior, was most worried she would miss social interaction with peers. To her surprise, Kiser is grateful for Zoom classes and the ability to interact with classmates.

“I still get to be my social butterfly self thanks to Zoom and other ways to spend time together virtually,” Kiser said.

Despite her frustration, Kiser is grateful her professors have been understanding with the situation.

Danica Grier, senior softball player for HSU, had her final collegiate season cancelled after last year was cut short but is thankful for being able to complete school work on her own time and the deepened her bond with her roommates.

“I was able to go home early where I met my boyfriend,” Grier said. “I was also able to get a puppy during this time since I was going to be home for the Southern California lockdown.”

Alex Kandalaft, an HSU senior, stopped working when the pandemic began and made the decision to move back in with her family.

“I moved back home, which is something that I did not expect to do in my wildest dreams, my last year of college,” Kandalaft said. “It’s definitely weird not being able to go out to bars on the weekends and social stuff like that but I’m making the most of it.”

With the obstacles this semester has presented, Kandalaft wishes that she is given a proper ceremony to close out the end of her college career.

“You never expect to experience your graduation in sweats, back in your hometown, watching a video recording over YouTube,” Kandalaft said.

The virtual commencement for the class of 2020 sat poorly with the graduating class. As of Oct. 20, the format of graduation for the 2021 class is undecided.

“If graduation would be online I would be really hurt,” Kiser said. “I know that the pandemic is serious and we don’t want any outbreaks. I think if we follow guidelines and think outside the box, we can have a rewarding in person graduation.”

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