Every time I open my closet, I glance up, look at my neatly hung cap and gown and look away in disappointment. The memories I had hoped to make wearing that outfit are only a dream now. There was something so deliriously exciting about buying that graduation attire — I remember it so clearly. But now, even looking at it makes me sigh. 

It’s been two and a half weeks since we seniors were told that not only are our last undergraduate classes turned remote, but our celebratory ceremony is canceled. Amid a climate of tension and the unknown, I have had to quickly say goodbye to my undergraduate career, scramble to give my last hugs and continue with my academics as if a huge rug hasn’t just been pulled out from under me. 

A college graduation ceremony is a rite of passage, an incredibly symbolic honor and a much-anticipated event. I now walk past a bleak and empty Law Quadrangle, wishing so desperately I had gotten my senior pictures taken earlier. I walk past my academic buildings where I had spent so many grudging moments — only to wish I had appreciated it more. I found out the news that in-person classes were canceled after having stepped out of my last one. I immediately wanted desperately to go back and enjoy that experience one more time. 

There are a myriad of memories and experiences that are now unable to occur, an entire bucket list gone unchecked. With a reminder to be grateful for these past four years, I comfort myself with the opportunities I’ve been presented with at this university, the friends I’ve made and the knowledge I’ve gained. There is truly never a time that can echo this experience, and for me and thousands of others to be ripped from that closure is disheartening to say the least. 

I have been told repeatedly to look beyond this, beyond my own pain and see the world’s suffering. And while I am just as anxious for this trying time to pass for all of us, I would like to take a moment to grieve the loss of my graduation and all the memories that come with it. It is alright to feel heavy and disconcerted, but all the while reminding ourselves how lucky we truly are to have an experience so beautiful, which makes it hard to step away.

To all my fellow graduates, I congratulate you, I mourn with you and I celebrate you. Forever, Go Blue!

Dhriti Deb is a senior in the College of Literature, Science & the Arts and can be reached at dhritdeb@umich.edu.

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