While an in-person commencement for the class of 2020 has officially been pushed to an unknown future date, some seniors, including Ennis and his friends, are making their own plans to celebrate their graduation off-campus in the weeks to come.
The class of 2020 is graduating into a job market that has “literally imploded,” according to Director of the Career Center Don Kjelleren. “We have never seen the labor market unravel that fast as everyone dashed to comply with shelter in place,” he added.
Given this uncertainty, the watchword for this year’s seniors is adaptability.
To the Williams College Class of 2020:
You are graduating into a world facing challenges unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes. A global pandemic is sweeping the globe, millions of Americans are unemployed, and our country seems as politically divided now as it has ever been.
Men’s crew named their newest racing shell “Class of 2020” in honor of their graduating seniors. (Photo courtesy of head coach Marc Mandel and @Ephheavies on Instagram.)
A few days before campus closed in March, women’s tennis head coach Anik Cepeda had her team over for a hearty weekend meal.
As I left campus in mid-March, packing up my belongings in a daze and scrambling to say goodbyes, there was one thought constantly circulating through my head: I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a senior right now.
Since the College announced its decision to postpone commencement until summer 2021, seniors and their families have had time to reflect on what the lack of commencement this year means to them. In response to an anonymous survey by the Record, several students expressed indifference to the cancellation of commencement, citing the loss of other events such as sports seasons and senior week as more significant. Still, a majority of responses lamented the loss of a meaningful experience that symbolizes the culmination of years of hard work and includes celebration with family and community members.
For some members of the Class of 2020, the end of the academic year means saying goodbye to the clubs they founded, led and guided, and passing them on to a new generation of leaders.
Members of the Class of 2020 have seen two United States presidents, three College presidents and two different forms of student government during their four years at the College. They’ve celebrated two homecoming wins, danced to Shaggy live at Spring Fling and witnessed Papa Smurf win a write-in nomination for College Council (CC) –– which later got abolished. They’ve seen the fall of Vine and the rise of TikTok. And most recently, they’ve become the first class to complete their Williams education remotely amidst a pandemic.
In our senior issue celebrating the members of the Class of 2020, we went through the Record archives from the past four years to capture their time at the College through the headlines.
“You’re more than enough, you’re worthy, and you belong”: First Gen students reflect on graduating amidst the pandemic
It is again the time of year when seniors are normally preparing to receive their diplomas from the College, with their family and friends crowded on Paresky Lawn to cheer for them. The coronavirus pandemic, however, has forced schools across the country to dramatically alter their graduation ceremonies, drastically altering seniors’ plans.