Griffin Ell / Arts Director

In an email sent to 281 students, presumably the senior class, early Friday morning Barbara Preston wrote, “We are pleased to share that Commencement for this year will be held on October 3, 2020 during our Alumni Weekend celebration.” Of course, the preceding of this event will rely solely on the COVID-19 pandemic, but Preston made clear that would be the only variable. 

I really do believe that Keene State College is doing the absolute most to help us get to the finish line. They have done everything they could so far to get me where I am with my academic and professional life. I am so thankful for the people I have met and the experiences I have been able to be a part of during my time here. I asked myself, “What do I see when looking back at the past few years I’ve spent at Keene State?” 

During orientation I was led by an O-leader who was instantly someone I looked up to. She showed me that if you work hard, you can have your dream job. I found my best friends my first year of college, and with them I found myself. They are still my best friends to this day, because we have grown together. 

Sophomore year I learned that something I was never good at didn’t have to mean disappointment. I understood that when I received a perfect score on my math exam, but that was only possible because my teacher stayed after to teach the old lessons to me when I missed a week of class. I remember taking an introduction to Spanish course at the end of my junior year and, although I struggled, that professor had the faith to send me to Spain for a semester, quoting in an assessment form to the program that she thought I would do great. 

That brings me to my current year, my last one. 

After traveling around Europe during my first semester of senior year, I was able to see things that some people don’t have the chance to come across in their lifetime. I have always wanted to study abroad, but I didn’t know I could do it. But I did—along with the help of quite a few professors and faculty. 

Once I came back to KSC in January I met with my advisor, because I realized that this was it. I explained my worry about not finding a job and life after graduation. In some way or another, he said, I was going to be fine and he was sure of it. In that moment my whole college career flashed before my eyes. I built myself up to be the person I never thought I could be. For that I am grateful—for the time I had and nothing less.

In a way that makes graduation seem so little. I feel so deeply for the students who have worked so hard to see this day, but I am also brokenhearted for the first-years who can’t finish the semester with their soon-to-be best friends, the sophomores whose academics just started clicking for them, and the juniors who are taking classes that might affect their future. Taking classes online and being pulled apart from everyday campus life isn’t the most terrible thing to happen, but it’s not the same. 

I am hopeful that we will have closure; not now, but sooner rather than later. So, at this moment, I’ll ask you this humbling question: What do you see when looking back at the past few years you’ve spent at Keene State? I bet your journey included unlimited support from faculty, staff and other students. 

No, I don’t think that graduating is the whole point of college, but I’m glad our school understands that it is still part of it.


Kiana Wright can be contacted at:

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