By Conor Brummell
News and Current Affairs Editor
NUI Galway has announced that there will be no physical Winter conferring ceremony this month, with graduations going online die to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Conferrings will be held between the 30th of November until the 9th of December, the University announced the news in an email to students, saying, “Due to the ongoing limits on congregation on campus (and across the country), our Winter Conferring ceremonies will take place virtually. Our Conferring team will be in contact with graduands shortly with information on dates and how to take part.”
“Graduation is a huge milestone in our students’ lives, made all the more significant by the challenges they faced in completing the final semester of their studies,” the email continued, stating that, “We are disappointed that we cannot celebrate with our new graduates on campus, but we look forward to marking their achievement online and sharing in the good wishes from friends and family.”
“These earlier virtual conferrings had a sense of novelty about them. We are thinking about ways in which we can make more meaningful virtual conferrings in the age of Covid-19.”
SIN spoke to students due to graduate next month about the reality of having an online ceremony, and how they are feeling about the situation.
Criodan Ó Murchú finished his degree in Chemistry last May and says that the whole situation is disappointing. “It’s sad that we don’t get to tie things off nicely with a bow, but I think we have to recognize the far from ideal situation that we are in. I’d say most people would love a graduation of sorts but that won’t be happening this year.”
“I think people should take solace in the fact that they know themselves that they’re done. They’ve done the hard work. They’ve been through their degrees and completed them. The graduation is only supplementary to your success. I would rather wait to have my graduation in person, with my classmates, than have someone hastily read my name incorrectly via livestream and let that be the end of four years at college,” he finished.
Aidan Casey, who is graduating from NUI Galway with a BA in Economics and Sociology and Politics, agrees with the feeling of disappointment that a lot of students are experiencing about graduating online. “We never got to say goodbye in March. I think we got an email in the morning to say it was our last day. I know they have no choice but to go online for graduations though. I do hope, however, that when circumstances allow, we will be invited back on campus for some sort of ceremony to celebrate in person.”
“Although I do think we could be waiting a long time for that because even when a vaccine is ready, it will take a while to roll it out,” he said jokingly.
“As for celebrating, I have seen some other colleges such as UCD and UL graduate this year. You get your parchment in the post and you get sorted with the gown somehow. I will probably take pictures with family or something but will have to see how it will work first.”
“I can’t imagine it will be too exciting though hearing your name on a Zoom call or something to reward you for getting through your college degree. That is why I would like a proper celebration when it is possible to do so,” he stated.
The University has appealed to students for suggestions on how virtual graduations could be made more meaningful in the future.