A year and a half later, 2020 graduates finally have the chance to walk


As Spring 2020 graduate Perry Nalle was watching a movie with her parents, a college graduation scene started playing out and Nalle was like, “Wow, I really missed that. ”

“I was really having a pity party for myself and I was disappointed that I didn’t graduate,” Nalle said. “I was a lot more disappointed with other things, like my sisterhood and senior week events and my senior project on top of the start.”

Graduating from college early in the pandemic meant 2020 graduates couldn’t experience the traditional ceremony in person at Cal Poly’s Spanos Stadium – until now. This winter, Cal Poly will welcome the graduates of the class of 2020 for a special debut in person December 12.

Former nutrition student Alyson Crowley said she was very disappointed after seeing her Cal Poly graduate boyfriend in person in 2021 because it looked so fun.

“After seeing her graduation, I realized this was a time in life that I’m really disappointed we missed,” Crowley said.

Crowley said she’s been looking forward to the late ceremony because it’s going to be like a giant reunion, but she feels the start isn’t really all about graduation since everyone has already been pursuing their life.

“I feel like it’s going to be more exciting as the time when we finally all get back together and can say all the things we wish we could have said since we left for spring break and didn’t. never came back, ”Crowley mentioned.

Nalle is currently working as a recreation coordinator at Corte Madera Parks and Recreation where she did a three month internship when she was at Cal Poly, and said she felt really lucky to have found a job on time. full during the pandemic.

“I work for a government recreation department, so my job was in person. I feel like I really had a normal start to work experience, ”said Nalle. “My two best friends from college stayed home for a full year and only got full-time jobs a few months ago, so I think I was very lucky. . ”

Tori Aronow, a former student in theme parks and tourism administration, is currently a wedding planning assistant and has said COVID-19 has hampered her initial career goals.

“Ideally, I would have wanted to graduate and go into a business, but since graduating during the pandemic my options seemed not to be that wide,” Aronow said. “No one in the event industry was really hiring, which impacted that experience. ”

Aronow said the most important thing Cal Poly had taught her was to say ‘yes’, to take risks and to be uncomfortable.

“The way to learn is really to challenge yourself and be uncomfortable, because if you’re too comfortable you’re never really going to grow,” Aronow said.

Madison Lewallen, Winter 2020 Graduate and Liberal Studies Graduate, Currently Getting It a single subject teaching diploma as well as a master’s degree in educational technology. Lewallen teaches science in grade 8 in his hometown and said COVID-19 regulations have completely changed the way schools operate.

“I never thought I would teach half of my kids in person and half still on Zoom like we did last year,” said Lewallen. “We weren’t allowed to have lab tables, so the students were in individual desks. This made the group work and the labs really difficult.

Former industry management student Hannah Rutter said she was upset that she couldn’t experience the same graduation traditions as upper-class students before her.

“I tried to stay positive and just be thankful that we only had a quarterback that was ‘ruined’,” Rutter said. “I think everyone took pity on us and it was strange not being able to understand that I was finishing this important stage in my life.”

Rutter said her graduation ceremony which she experienced on Zoom in her major was more meaningful than if she had graduated in person.

“There was a video diary with students saying a little blurb, our professors spoke and awards were given out and it was really nice, personal and intimate,” Rutter said. “With just this ceremony, I felt good and didn’t feel like I needed a big Cal Poly ceremony.”

A winter 2020 graduate and alumnus of business administration, Meghan Butler said she was attending the late ceremony but believed she had graduated fully from Cal Poly.

“I have the impression of having passed [graduation] because I’ve had a job for over a year and live alone in San Francisco, ”said Butler. “I feel like it would be weird to put my dress back on and walk across the stage when it’s something I feel like I’ve celebrated before.”

Butler is currently working at Adobe as a Solutions Consultant and said the most rewarding thing about graduating from Cal Poly is that she has become more creative and innovative due to the “Learn by Doing” mentality. “.

“We haven’t had our heads in a book for the entire four years in college,” Butler said. “We had to put our learning into practice and I think that gives us a head start in the real world. ”

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