Graduating College Students Face Sudden Departure Amid Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Thursday, March 19th 2020, 3:25 pm
By: Storme Jones

Three of Oklahoma’s largest colleges are telling students not to come back to campus after spring break due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

“I feel like everything just stopped,” OSU Graduate Student Ashley Brickman said. Thousands of seniors and grad students across the state are set to leave college and enter the real world in just seven weeks.

However, OU, UCO and OSU have announced classes will be online through the end of this semester. Many students left for spring break not knowing that would be the last time they would be on campus as college students.

“That’s what keeps replaying in my mind,” OU senior Jericka Handie said. “That last class, taking that in. Thinking of all the students that were sitting around me. And wondering what it would be like to go back and experience that again.”

UCO extended spring break to give professors more time to transition their courses online.

“Online classes aren’t fun for anybody,” UCO senior Hannah Baker said. “Being around all of our classmates and stuff is kind of what keeps you going.”

For many students like Brickman, the shutdown also means the loss of a job.

“I actually work for the university, so that’s kind of been an issue as well because I am basically unemployed now,” she said. “So that’s been rough figuring out what I’m going to do with that and how the school is dealing with that.”

All three schools said they are still trying to figure out what to do with graduation, some are even considering an online ceremony until things return to normal.

“I look forward to the opportunity to go back and thank the people that helped me grow, helped me learn what impact I want to make in the world,” Handie said.

All three students agreed, not getting to say goodbye to professors has been the toughest.

“Being able to thank them for everything they’ve helped me with, since they have guided me throughout college,” Brickman said.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that I will now have to do that from a distance,” Handie said.