365体育投注Social distancing requirements have left many college seniors with a feeling something is missing because the graduation ceremonies they and their families have been looking forward to have been postponed indefinitely.
365体育投注Andre Schaum, a 2016 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, would have graduated May 3 from Concordia College in Moorhead with a degree in chemistry. In March, the college transitioned to distance learning for the rest of the semester due to concerns about the increase of COVID-19 in the state.
Once finals are done, celebrating four years of hard work with a graduation ceremony is usually the next step.
“I didn’t realize how much I was looking forward to graduation until they announced it would be canceled or postponed,” Schaum said. “I just assumed college graduation would be there. When the email came out and it was official, that’s when it hit me. I realized then I wouldn’t be in that cap and gown and go up on the stage like I watched my girlfriend do last year. It’s kind of disappointing for us and for our families too.”
Moving forward, staying connected
Schaum said college officials are working on plans to reschedule graduation.
“They sent out a survey with the options of maybe having a graduation in late summer or early fall,” he said. “They may do some kind of a virtual graduation as well.”
365体育投注Schaum said he and his friends were looking forward to fun times together before graduation, too.
365体育投注“The three days between finals and graduation my roommate and I were planning on bumming out and having a good time,” he said. “Now he’s in Alexandria and I’m here in Rochester. Last weekend, my roommate and I and three other guys we hung out with had a five-way Skype call. We chatted for an hour like we did back in school. I’ve seen a lot of my friends posting online screenshots of group chats with their friends, too.”
Schaum said it helps to know he’ll have another graduation to look forward to when he finishes his Ph.D., regardless of what happens with the Concordia graduation. “For students who were looking forward to college graduation to mark the end of their education, I can see it being worse,” he said. “For them it’s a bigger milestone where for me it’s just another step.”
Schaum has received an assistantship at Oregon State University, where he will be working on his Ph.D. in the environmental and molecular toxicology department. He has already been participating in Zoom meetings with his new lab colleagues.
“With my major, I’ll be looking at organic pollutants,” he said. “There’s a big push for sustainable living in Oregon.”
Schaum is planning to go to Oregon in early July to find a place to live and get acquainted with the faculty and the labs, but said he will try to get back for Concordia’s graduation.
Once classes went online, Schaum went home to Osage for a week before heading to Rochester to be with his girlfriend.
Graduation a milestone for parents, too
365体育投注Schaum’s mom, Janet Blanchard, lives in Honolulu, Hawaii. A nurse working full-time in neonatal, she is used to flying back to fill in at three hospitals in the Twin Cities. For now, she has to stay in Hawaii where she was living when restrictions on travel were put in place.
“I’m waiting for the day the restrictions are lifted,” she said. “I have a May 7 shift scheduled in Minnesota, so I hope I can make that.”
365体育投注Blanchard said she had already purchased a plane ticket to come to Minnesota for her son’s graduation before COVID-19 hit.
365体育投注“I was able to get a voucher, so if they do the graduation later on I will get on a plane and come,” she said. “It’s all so nebulous right now.”
Blanchard has twin daughters who graduated from Park Rapids in 2013. Heidi Schaum lives in Park Rapids and works at TruStar. Lydia Schaum is in the Air Force, stationed in Kansas.
“Heidi graduated from Aveda in the Twin Cities and I was there, just like I was at all of my kids’ high school graduations,” she said. “I can’t imagine not being able to have a college graduation for my son. He’s done so well, and I just want to have that celebration for him. But he says that’s just the way it is for now. I’ve been trying to think of other ways we can celebrate his accomplishments. We are going to go on a trip together, but we can’t plan anything definite for that either until this comes to a head. I was living here in Hawaii so I didn’t get to go to parent’s weekends and things like that at Concordia and was really looking forward to seeing him graduate.”
365体育投注“For her not having graduation was a bigger deal than it was for me,” Schaum said.
365体育投注His dad, Dave Schaum, is a special education teacher at Century Middle School in Park Rapids and lives in Osage. He said he enjoyed some ice fishing with his son during his March visit.
365体育投注“If they have a graduation ceremony later it’s just a quick trip to Moorhead for me,” he said. “ It would be nice for the seniors if they could have a ceremony, even if it’s later. I feel bad for the kids.”