It would be fair to say that the global pandemic has impacted everyone in one way, shape or form. It has seen changes to the way people interact at work and at play – indeed, in every social situation, we find ourselves in.
We are social beings, so the greatest impact on us is when that ability to interact and socialize is taken away from us. Despite this, people still need to celebrate and to find joy. Regardless of the situation people may find themselves in; some things are constant – people mark birthdays and anniversaries, marriages and births, work and sporting achievements.
Graduation and the rite of passage
One of the greatest rites of passage in our lives is graduation. Whether it be from high school, college, or university, graduation marks a turning point in our lives. It is a memorable moment for our children and our young, often marked with a mix of joy and solemnity as a life chapter closes and another one opens.
Ironically, in 2021, graduation is perhaps a memorable occasion in a year that will be remembered for vastly different reasons. Perhaps, that is all the more reason to mark the occasion with careful thought, and choosing from the best graduation gifts to celebrate a person’s rite of passage becomes a good starting point.
A double celebration
For students at all levels of learning, the past year has presented significant challenges. Lockdowns and social distancing have seen class closures, limitations on student numbers, and remote learning taking the place of face-to-face classes.
In normal circumstances, graduation for many students represents the culmination of times of struggle, commitment, and often great difficulty. Remember that young people have a lot on their plate in formative years – the challenges of growing up and all of the pressures that come along with it are all playing out at the same time that our students work toward their learning goals.
For the graduating class of 2021, the unprecedented and protracted global pandemic has placed a further layer of struggle over and above the norm. In that sense, it is worthy of reflecting on graduation this year as something of a double celebration – it is very much a triumph over adversity as well as a proud academic achievement!
Safety versus tradition
Having been denied so many opportunities to celebrate important events, it is highly likely that academic graduation ceremonies will also be subject to strict limitations this year. While the sentiment from many schools and colleges is the desire to keep to more traditional ‘live’ celebrations, the need for public safety will perhaps mean caps and numbers, and social distancing will be called for.
Lest we forget
It is easy for people to feel a sense of disappointment and let down in such trying times. We cannot fall into this trap – despite the unprecedented difficulties, it is well worth remembering the triumph of the human spirit. Graduates in 2021, together with their friends, family, and loved ones, should take some time to reflect and celebrate their achievements in what has been recognized as one of the hardest of years in human record since the last world war.