As students prepare for virtual graduations for the second year, they’re taking celebrations into their own hands.
Like last year, many graduates will be celebrating at home or in a restricted ‘Covid-friendly’ environment. We spoke to students to find out about their alternative plans. It is clear feelings are running high over missing this milestone event as years of hard work end in an anti-climax.
Bethany Cameron, a history and European studies graduate from Dundee University, will not be attending this year’s virtual ceremony.
“The end of what is a amazing and difficult time for everyone is finishing with no celebration or real finality, it just sort of ended. I feel like an online graduation isn’t enough,” she said.
“I went to a lodge with a few friends who all moved back home when the pandemic hit, so we could celebrate then. I also am having a garden graduation with my family and friends from home.”
Product design student Iman Benjamin graduated last year.
“I did not attend the online ceremony last year. I genuinely did not see the point. University did not even feel real or legitimate by then and the ceremony was on a laptop screen.”
She and her fellow graduates are only now planning to celebrate their 2020 graduation.
“The talks of having a celebration only just popped up in a group chat last week and it’s been non-stop discussion since then. We’re looking at penthouse or hotel rooms. There were talks of renting gowns and making cardboard hats to go with them,” she said.
The end of what is a amazing and difficult time for everyone is finishing with no celebration or real finality, it just sort of ended.”
Dundee University student Euan McLaughlan achieved his degree in law last year and was disappointed when he could not graduate in-person. He was hopeful that this would not be the case again this year when he completed his postgraduate studies.
“In terms of the graduation, we received one e-mail in total a few months before we were due to graduate telling us it would not be going ahead. However, this was a hard pill to swallow considering the easing of restrictions and decline in Covid cases,” he said.
“Graduating this year with the Diploma in Legal Practice at Dundee as things across the country are beginning to open up, it is tough to accept there isn’t a graduation.
“The university has promised that we will have a chance to celebrate in person again soon for both of my graduations. I don’t see this happening. I feel this is a mere token gesture.”
Latest guidance from Dundee University states: “You’ll be able to gather together with your friends and classmates in a virtual setting, watch your ceremony, congratulate each other and create your own breakout rooms to toast your achievements together whilst being apart.”
The university is also live streaming ceremonies via its YouTube channel for friends and families to take part. Also on offer are photo opportunities with gown rentals.
Despite being disheartened, Euan has chosen to attend the online ceremony to celebrate the end of his academic journey and, in his own words, host “a fake graduation”.
“I have opted to attend the online ceremony and given permission for my name and photo to be shared. However, whether I sit through this will be a different story.
“Last year’s was very much a PowerPoint slide with names on a screen. Far from ideal, and not what I envisaged graduating being like when I started uni four years ago.”
Virtual graduation dates:
- Dundee University – July 14-16 July 2021
- Abertay University – 15th July 2021
- St Andrews University – 28th June – 2nd July 2021
- Perth College – celebrations to take place in the Autumn
- Fife College: Waiting to decide. Check the college website for updates
Dundee and Angus College is planning to host a physical graduation ceremony at the end of October this year to which last year’s and this year’s graduates will be invited. This is subject to national restrictions and guidelines and if this is not permitted, a virtual ceremony will be organised instead.