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Getting that Virtual Diploma

How do you fit all the milestones teachers and students lost during the COVID-19 pandemic into an approximately 350-word blog post? It isn’t easy. There aren’t words for how these students and teachers are feeling right now. There aren’t emotions for the milestones they are missing out on- last days, proms, commencement ceremonies, senior nights, end of school parties. Yet here I am, trying to put the lack of words and emotions into words.

No one on the Visit WilCo team has been in school for a while; therefore, we have no way of imagining how students and teachers feel currently. We reached out to two students from Tennessee Tech University to see if they could put their feelings into words.

                “I can say that my college experience has been affected by covid-19, but it hasn’t been the worst thing honestly, since this has happened I have had more time for school work and for normal life work, but with all this free time my anxiety and stress are at an all-time high because of how much time I have on my hands at home.  I’m always afraid I might have missed an assignment or anything for school so I’m constantly checking and reassuring myself to no avail.”  Statement from Christian Godfrey, Junior Music Ed Major


                “Being a graduating senior in a rigorous engineering program COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on my learning experience. Half of my classes have moved to Zoom lectures and half simply post content online and test us over that. Interaction with professors is limited and technological difficulties make it challenging to complete work on time. Due to the nature of the program, professors are not able to cut students much slack during this difficult time so the workload continues with minuscule resources or assistance from faculty that would normally be provided. We are all doing our best to get through online classes one day at a time and are all hopeful we will still graduate in May. However, looking forward to our careers and post-graduate experiences is bleak in a time like this, and we all wonder if we will be prepared or not.”  Statement from Abigail Shores, Senior Civil Engineering Major


So, while there is no way to put into words how these students and teachers feel or fix what has been lost and broken, it is possible to reach out a lending {virtual} hand during this time. Send them a message on social media and tell them you’re thinking of them. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help moving forward, whether it is a graduating high school senior moving onto college, a graduating college senior moving into the workforce, or a teacher getting prepared for the unknown that next school year brings. Orchestrate a drive-by with friends and family to show your appreciation for these students and teachers mourning a loss. Celebrate the good times while being sad about the losses. The world will get better! We will be stronger at the end of this! So take pictures in that prom dress, with that diploma, or at your makeshift classroom desk, and make the most of the lives you’ve been given!