By Mike Kilen
GCU Information Bureau
Surprising goodbyes swept throughout campus Friday after the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) afflicting the world simply as radically altered life at Grand Canyon College. The day earlier than, college students had been inspired to stay dwelling after spring break and lessons on campus had been transitioned to on-line for the ultimate 4 weeks of the spring semester.
“I’ll miss you,” mentioned a person who was hugging his buddy with bro again slaps exterior the Scholar Union.
With their April 24 Graduation ceremonies nearly sure to be postponed (they later had been postpone till later this 12 months), teary-eyed seniors gathered late Friday afternoon in an enormous throng to march down Lopes Approach, toss commencement caps within the air and pull off an impromptu celebration within the face of a lot gloom.
It began with greater than 100 college students gathering on the North Eating Corridor on the urging of senior Caleb Palmen.
“The day earlier than I had seen quite a lot of seniors crying. I simply needed to see a smile on their faces for a couple of minutes and overlook in regards to the craziness within the nation,” he mentioned.
A Graduation deal with was given by a pupil, and one after the other college students walked throughout the small stage within the corridor to wave and smile earlier than exiting onto Lopes Approach.
“We performed ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ on a speaker,” Palmen mentioned. “Different individuals joined in or cheered us on. A mother was videotaping it.
“I really feel like this was a giant final hurrah as a senior, and I used to be glad to assist individuals go away with positivity in these darkish instances.”
It was a day filled with disappointment and celebration.
“If it was straightforward, no person can be crying proper now,” senior Robby Yamaguchi mentioned to a gaggle huddle of Canyon Exercise Board (CAB), a student-run group.
Seniors thought they’d have extra time to ease away from a spot that meant so much to them however understood the College’s warning.
“It was a second to say thanks for all they meant to me. We don’t inform that sufficient to individuals, however they’ve been an enormous a part of my life,” Yamaguchi mentioned after the group hug.
“GCU is like household. You go to by highs and lows collectively. Now, it’s the final time we are able to embrace one another.”
Surprising transitions can result in anxiousness, disappointment and concern, mentioned Christine Pemberton, Director of the Workplace of Scholar Care, which is readily available to supply its providers.
“College students will expertise loss over how they envisioned issues to finish and can seemingly undergo a grief course of,” she mentioned. “Throughout this time will probably be vital for college students to achieve out to their assist techniques and permit themselves to establish and categorical their feelings and wishes.”
Sam Yonan, President of the Related College students of GCU, mentioned it’s correct to finish in-person lessons, however a sober actuality settled in that senior leaders would see a vibrant campus develop quiet.
It was additionally a mark in historical past throughout an vital 12 months of their lives.
“I’ve been pondering quite a lot of Isaiah 55:8-9, ‘the Lord’s methods are increased than ours,’ “ Yonan mentioned. “We don’t know why that is taking place, however God has a plan. We could by no means know what it’s.”
Senior Santiago Nunez was reflecting on 4 years passed by so shortly and the way he was wanting ahead to Graduation.
“It’s that particular second – the stroll – however this has a a lot greater which means,” Nunez mentioned. “It’s simply laborious not having the ability to say goodbye, particularly for seniors. Now everybody should discover new methods to achieve out.”
As he spoke, three college students walked previous sporting commencement caps.
Throughout campus, vehicles lined up between residence halls bearing license plates from California and Texas and different states.
“It was a shock, however it’s what it’s,” mentioned freshman Makayla Quiroz as her grandparents helped load up belongings to take again to Sacramento. “I’m unhappy that it got here up brief. However GCU has dealt with it effectively. I feel being calm is what’s vital.”
At eating locations and alongside the walkways on campus, practically each overheard dialog centered on the nation’s problem face the pandemic, or their private circumstances consequently.
“I don’t have wherever to be proper now,” one pupil mentioned to his mates with a type of awe.
The College made positive nobody was left with no place to go. Residence halls stay open for individuals who wanted to remain due to their circumstances.
Sophomore Alazay Casas mentioned her household lives 9 hours away in California, and she or he wanted to attend for them to get off work this week to retrieve her.
“It’s not so good as finding out on campus, however it is going to really feel good to be with household,” she mentioned.
Particularly in unsure instances, it may be a consolation.
Yamaguchi, a San Diego native who is ready to graduate with a level in biology with an emphasis on pre-medicine however will keep in Phoenix this week for job interviews, mentioned he revered GCU’s resolution as a result of he wouldn’t count on much less from the College.
“GCU is all about neighborhood. We are going to scatter if it’s higher for everybody else,” he mentioned
College students had been abandoning a few of their issues for neighborhood.
Parked exterior the residence halls, Goodwill vehicles and bins had been filling with garments and furnishings and bean bag chairs from college students, a donation in a time that requires an odd type of distant unity.
Grand Canyon College senior author Mike Kilen may be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.