Seniors reflect on graduating during uncertain times

Photo courtesy of Joan Kwamboka, Unsplash

From online classes to a global pandemic, this past school year has been a challenge for students around the world. As the seniors at Ramapo College are in the home stretch of their last semester, we caught up with graduating students Janine Rosales and Alexander Minchin. They discussed their feelings about finishing college in unprecedented times. 

“Graduating feels very surreal to me,” said Rosales. She is a nursing major with lots of on-campus involvement, including the Disney Club, the Nursing Student Organization and Residence Life at Mackin Hall. Rosales chose to attend Ramapo because of the acclaimed nursing program, small class sizes, proximity to New York City and the opportunity to join the Disney Club. 

“I would love to have a restart of senior year under normal circumstances, but we are unfortunately not in one and it will take some time to even picture life pre-Covid,” Rosales said. “For the first time, I really do not know what’s going to happen post-graduation in regards to my future besides the working life as part of adulthood.”

Minchin is a digital filmmaking major and member of the Disney Club. “It’s kind of an exciting and scary feeling, in a good way,” he said about graduation. After getting his associate’s degree, Minchin chose to continue his education at Ramapo to pursue his passion for filmmaking and expand his skill set in communications. 

“I’ll be starting to quickly move away from school work and jump right into the real world and pursue the career path I’ve been dreaming of my whole life,” says Minchin. “Graduating from college is a huge step, as it's one that should be looked back on as a proud moment in our lifetime.”

Recently, Ramapo changed their plans for how in-person graduation would work. Once taking place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, graduation will now be held on campus, split into eight different ceremonies. While she originally pictured graduation with huge crowds in a large venue, Rosales doesn’t mind the switch of location. 

“Just the idea of all these people cramped up in one huge stadium is a bit intimidating. However, graduating on the Bandshell Lawn and doing Arching at the same time takes me back to opening convocation, which was a much simpler, happier time. It makes me miss being a freshman so much,” says Rosales. 

On the journey to graduation, both students faced many challenges in the classroom due to the pandemic. Rosales’ challenge was being a nursing student with mandatory clinical hours. Since all the nursing students received an uneven distribution of clinical hours, not everyone got the experience they signed up for. 

“I feel that unless you are currently an employee at a hospital, which I have been doing, you are subjected to a severe lack of experience upon graduation,” Rosales said. 

Minchin’s challenge was navigating the required amount of production courses for his major and completing his film projects. Since the pandemic shut down filming for projects of all sizes, Minchin had to get creative. 

In the early days of the pandemic, he created a documentary called “The Caregivers,” which explores the experiences of nurses working during the pandemic. 

“Due to students being unable to check out film equipment, I filmed my 13 minute short with my iPhone and used the mineral sources,” says Minchin. 

Graduating from college is a monumental achievement. The graduating students at Ramapo College and around the world should be proud of their accomplishments. In the wake of unprecedented school procedures, Rosales, Minchin and many more rose to the challenge and finished strong. 

The staff at Ramapo News congratulate the class of 2021 and wish them the best in their future endeavors.