Graduating Amidst a Pandemic: Our 2020 Graduates
Written by: Afiq Akmal Bin Abad
An alumnus from Class of 2020, Bachelor of Communication with Business
The SUSS Convocation Ceremony for the Class of 2020 took place from 29 April to 6 May 2021.
It felt incredibly surreal to watch the convocation ceremony of the 2020 class unfold.
We were the pioneer batch of students graduating in a Covid-19 world. Our cohort also saw the first graduates from SUSS Law School. Many of us were anxious about the labour market – or for those who were already in the workforce, worried about their job security. It’s been a year since then, and I hope that all of us have overcome or coped better with the unexpected hurdles borne by the pandemic.
As I recall, the school did a fantastic job bolstering the spirits of the graduating cohort. We moved to a virtual celebration last year – made possible through the incredible efforts from the Convocation Organising Committee. Videos of congratulatory messages from graduates, their family and loved ones were pieced together and shared through Zoom sessions and the specially curated website for the Class of 2020. Fast forward a year later, today, SUSS 2020 graduates finally get to attend their in-person Convocation Ceremony.
There were marked differences, owing to the Covid-19 measures. There was no intermingling between zones or physical contact. The audience was significantly lesser and sat in chairs that were equally spaced apart. Masks hid our smiles as we stood a metre or two apart for the photo-taking on stage. The applause, too, seemed softer.
And yet, a few similarities stubbornly remained. The fierce pride emanating from our parents, family, and loved ones as we stepped on stage. The excitement and nervousness some of us felt while waiting for our turn to be called. And, I imagine, the smiles in our eyes as we were conferred the degree – pleased and satisfied at having accomplished a significant milestone in our lives. The pride of the faculty seated on stage as part of the Academic Procession was also evident as they witnessed the success of their students.
I am grateful for the time spent in SUSS, which provided an avenue to meet people from diverse backgrounds and at different stages in their lives. One is a friend who had to maximise the candidature period as she entered motherhood but persisted with studies – in between family commitments and work. Another friend, who works in the airline industry, was shaken badly as Covid-19 quickly became prevalent – worried about his job. He has since adapted to the changes and has even gotten married amidst the new normal. I am grateful, too, towards my parents and support from loved ones – a sentiment, that I am sure, all of us share.
Our SUSS Community also shared their heart-warming congratulatory messages for the Class of 2020 graduates through a specially curated video:
It has been a fulfilling journey. A new adventure awaits. Go make your mark.