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Regan Smith & Daisy Garcia Montoya

It may not have been what they expected, but the class of 2020 is making history for UMKC. The entire class is taking their coursework online, and their May commencement is being replaced with a virtual graduation celebration.

Despite the largely unprecedented challenges they face, graduating Roos remain resilient as they finish their degree requirements.

Communications major and graduating senior Erin Roth says that while she is used to online courses, there is nothing like having class in person.

“The main class that I would still like to meet in person for would be my capstone class,” said Roth. “This class was going to be useful for my future career and we aren’t doing Zoom meetings for it anymore.”

Though she was excited to learn, she said she will now miss out on all the valuable things they were going to be taught.

Bailey Landis, another senior communications major, agreed and said she wishes her Rhetorical Theory and Criticism course was still in person.

“I enjoy listening to Dr. Melling and classmates give their thoughts and opinions on different topics,” Landis said. “We still have class discussions and lectures online, but I feel like participation is not the same as meeting face-to-face twice a week.”

Other seniors worry about their life after UMKC as COVID-19 interferes with events that help students network with potential employers.

“I feel less confident based on the fact that I was starting to work on my networking more,” said senior communication studies major Hannia Zavala. “I was reaching out to companies trying to find an employer post-grad. With the coronavirus, all events were canceled, including the Mercury Internship Brunch where many employers attend for communications-focused careers.”

Zavala says that the recent changes have made her consider staying at UMKC for an additional semester, as there are more resources available for students.

Others are disappointed they were unable to say goodbye. Tommy Graham says it’s sad knowing it’s possible he will never see many of his classmates and teachers again. Graham says that although classes are being held online, participation and discussions are no longer the same.

With hopes of curving the spread of COVID-19 Chancellor Agrawal decided to postpone May’s graduation. This decision left many seniors feeling a variety of emotions. Though seniors will still receive their degree, the joy of walking across the stage will have to wait until December.

“If I can’t walk because of this stupid coronavirus I will definitely cry,” said senior Lisa Train. “I, we, as seniors worked so hard. We deserve the recognition.”

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