Since the outbreak of Covid-19, everything about student life has changed. Not only have all of our classes gone online but all of our ceremonies and events have either been canceled or switched to being online. This includes my own graduation from Seoul National University’s Language Institute. I finished my language studies in February 2021. Of course, every school is different. However, this may give you some insight into what to expect for your own graduation ceremonies.
Online Graduation Ceremony Preparations
A few months before the ceremony, we were divided into groups. Each group was assigned different tasks related to the ceremony. I was a member of the invitation group. So, I had to contact all of the guests including parents, friends, and lecturers to inform them about the ceremony. Additionally, I made invitation cards in both English and Korean to send to guests via email. It may sound like an easy task, but it wasn’t. I had to spend a lot of time contacting people and waiting for their responses. But luckily, all of my jobs were completed beforehand, so I had no responsibilities on graduation day. I could freely enjoy my big day.
Besides my team, there were also performance and emcee teams. They were able to record their performance in advance. Some students recorded their performances outdoors, adding some variation to the ceremony. Next, we had an emcee team that covered everything related to the sound system during the ceremony. They were the busiest team during graduation day. They had to stay alert in case any problems occurred during the ceremony.
The Online Graduation Ceremony
The day before graduation, we received our graduation certificates and gowns to take graduation photos from the rooftops of our houses. On graduation day, everyone woke up early to prepare for their roles. We had a rehearsal shortly before the real ceremony started. At around eleven in the morning, our parents and guests began entering the zoom meeting. The ceremony started with singing the Malaysia and South Korea national anthems. After that, the representatives of Seoul National University and the Malaysian embassy gave their speeches. I then gave my speech along with other representatives of each ceremony preparation team.
Next, some of my classmates performed and were given awards based on their attendance and academic achievements. After a concluding speech, the ceremony had come to an end and all of the guests had left the zoom meeting. Finally, we took a class picture and said our goodbyes.
We had one team design our yearbook. It included all of our collective memories from the moment we met each other together all the way up to our last class together. It included student and professor introductions, including a few pictures of artwork created by some of our talented classmates. Due to their hard work, we all have a beautiful magazine to hold our sweet memories of our time as students.
Online graduation was bitter-sweet. We couldn’t say goodbye and wish each other well face-to-face. However, it was a new experience for everyone and we could all stay safe while bonding over our common struggles. As the world changes, we can all make the most of our difficult circumstances.
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