A COVID-19 Message to Our Seniors

Added Note from Brianna:

I was feeling really under the weather the day we filmed so I’m sorry for the miserable face. I love you all! Feeling better now!

Added Note from Josh:

Y’all know you’re super welcome to come to UHP events once you graduate, right? You’ll get free admission to Student-Faculty Dinners henceforth. I don’t want this to be the last I see of you! Come back around!!

Transcript:

Professor Kung: To all the UHP students who are graduating this semester, this is definitely not the final semester anyone was expecting for you. The entire faculty and staff of the UHP is heartbroken that graduation has to be cancelled. We are going to figure out a way to celebrate your accomplishments, we promise that. But in the meantime, remember that what you’re doing right now is a civic duty. We hope that when you think back on this semester, you’re going to focus on the fact that your actions and sacrifices have helped to slow the spread of this disease. For someone out there right now, today, what you are doing is literally a lifesaving act for them. So keep that in mind. 

Eydie: Hi guys, you know me. I’m a sap. Graduation time is the most wonderful time of the year for me and i’m feeling sad too. Just remember, we will come together. We are GW and we will figure out a way. And people are at work right now figuring how to make the end of your experience at GW better than what you’re going through right now. We are thinking about you all. We are thinking about your parents and how proud they are of you. We are proud of you guys! We are gonna get through this. I may cry a little but that wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. Take care!

Josh: I echo everything that was just said. I have a special connection to this class because I entered GW with y’all and with a little twist of fate left a little earlier. But we have been through it, one might say. Because we entered in 2016 with the 2016 election and we are leaving and being sent off by COVID-19. So you know, it’s just the way it goes. But yeah, I echo when we heard about in person classes being cancelled for the rest of the semester, it was a blow to all of us especially on behalf of you guys. College has this unique sense of community to it, and having that ripped away early is a really rough thing. But we are working our hardest to give you that sense of community feel virtually. It won’t be the same, but it will be something! Through the digital townhouse project, be involved there, be connected there, stay with us! We care about you. 

Ben: Hey everybody, seniors. We just want to let you know how sad we are about the events that have taken place lately and the fact that we won’t be able to see you in person for the rest of the semester. Honors advising is still open for business. We are here virtually for you and if you want to check in about the remainder of your classes, just to chat about life, to catch up, Brianna and I are here for you. We definitely want to continue staying in touch. You know how to access our calendar, put time on it so we can catch up and stay connected with you.

Brianna: As Ben said, we still have appointments so definitely reach out. I know we’d love to hear from you and I hope everyone is doing well. I’m not going to pretend I know all of the answers right now with all of the balls up in the air but I’ll figure it out with you. So we are here for you, please take care of yourselves and we will see you soon. 

Professor Hammond: Hi everyone, I am listening to what everyone is saying and I’m just reminded about how bummed I am that we are not going to get to celebrate you all in person. As Josh was saying, and as I am remembering you all came in at a really interesting time and now you’re leaving at a really interesting time and that’s… interesting for a lack of a better word. I’m going to miss you all and I hope there are lessons that you all can take from this. Which sounds like a really trite thing but I really think there definitely will be and the sacrifices that you all are making for the greater good here. Insert some really prolific X-Files quote, for those who know who know will know. I hope you all are taking care of yourselves. So much is up in the air and there’s a lot you can’t control. But something you can do for yourself and those near you is reaching out and connecting with us and your loved ones. 

Professor Ralkowski: Hey guys! So I wanted to connect with a couple things that people said already. I feel exactly the same way that Eyde does about graduation. It feels like a holiday, like Thanksgiving to me– it’s one of my favorite times of the year. This particular graduation is one I’ve been looking forward to since you were freshmen. Precisely because I feel a special connection to your class. Your freshman year was the first year that I lived in West Hall and the first year I started doing pancakes with the Professor and this little dog on the scene. In a way I think of you guys all as Lola’s siblings. To be honest, I was looking forward to this graduation but also dreading it because I know this end of the academic year is going to feel like someone ripping my heart out of my chest. And now, we are in this very strange place in life facing a global crisis. 

The one thing I wanted to say that is meant to be heard just in the spirit of solidarity is I can imagine you guys are feeling a lot of anxiety about the future. There’s disappointment about graduation and then there’s anxiety about what’s to come for you and your careers that are not yet started. The one thing I can say that is just minimally related to your experience. I finished my PhD just as the 2008 economic crisis hit us. The job market looked really bleak and for about 2 years, I was losing all hope of finding an academic position, But then I ended up with this one. And I couldn’t feel happier that I’m in this place. So, I just want to ask you guys to persevere, to stay strong, and to have faith in yourselves because I really mean it. This couldn’t be happening to a greater group of GW students and if anyone can make it you guys can. You’re going to be fine, Last thing I’ll say, I’ve talked to many of you about having a BBQ at my house in celebration of graduation. That offer is still on as soon as we are out of quarantine. So see you guys there!

Professor Aviv: Hi everybody. So just following up on two things that Mark said. First of all, I too graduated in 2008 and I started my graduate program a day after September 11, 2001. So, absolutely we are going through unprecedented and very scary times. But you are really well equipped. You started your program in 2016, right around the election and you’re graduating into a once in a century pandemic. And I think there is no clearer message to you than the world really needs your talent and energy to change it and make it a better place. It was really a pleasure to meet so many of you, have conversations in and outside the classroom and I look forward to continuing them so read out to me whenever you want and whenever you can. Worst case scenario I’ll be at Mark’s barbecue too. We talked so many times about ideas that shape the world, and now it’s your turn. So, congratulations, celebrate your achievements and we will find a way to celebrate it together. And take good care of yourselves. 

Professor Trullinger: Hello everyone, it’s hard to follow up these messages of hope and encouragement with anything really special of my own to say. So I guess i’ll just share a message of personal gratitude. The graduating class is one that has come through a lot in terms of the external world. But those of you who are close to me, it has been a time of great personal trial for me. And so I do  feel a special sense of connection to you all and to people I’ve known from the beginning, those I’m just getting to know now. And it’s really been a very special opportunity of, now I say i the past tense, but the reality is I’m still going to be here and I am still available as I like to say in my classes, there’s a lifetime money back guarantee where you can always ask me about something years down the road about something you learned. But also just for knowing how you’re doing. This is definitely not what any of us expected but the reality is, this was always a case, maybe not with this particular challenge, but with challenges in general. The important thing we do is to remember the character we display in the midst of the circumstances is really the most important. Remember to do well, be well, take care of yourself, and also be good to one another.    

Professor Kung: Just to wrap things up here. Not all the faculty could be here today but everyone is thinking of you. Again, we are going to make sure that you get the recognition that you deserve. Please keep in touch, we love our alumni coming back and visiting, and talking, and emailing, and writing blog posts. So we expect to still hear from you even after the conclusion of all of this. 

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