If your graduation was postponed because of the pandemic, you understand the true disappointment of waiting four years for a celebration that never actually happened.
1. "My high school had an outdoor party on the football field in place of graduation, and maybe an hour in, two kids got caught starting a fire on the turf. The party was immediately cancelled, we were all forced to go home, and that was the only 'celebration' I got for graduating high school."
—Anonymous, 20, LA
2. "They gave us a pre-recorded YouTube video where my name flashed in Arial font across the screen. It was underwhelming, to say the least."
3. "My dean rear-ended me during our drive-through graduation. He refused to take responsibility and said that I was driving too slow."
4. "My younger sister graduated from junior high in 2020, and the ceremony was canceled to 'avoid overcrowding.' They promised to do something instead, but eventually, it turned out that the 'something' was a basketball tournament by the whole third-grade class in one gym, which is a lot smaller than the ceremony hall. I wonder what the 'overcrowding' was."
5. "We got graduation gifts that I assume were random, ranging from crappy bags with our school logo to AirPods. One of the richest kids at our school walked away with free AirPods."
—Anonymous, 20, Oregon
6. "I majored in theatre, and when they gave us online graduation, our student speaker finished her speech with, 'Congratulations, Class of 2020. Sorry, you'll probably never get a job because of the pandemic!' Definitely put a damper on the entire celebration."
7. "We had a graduation/reunion a year later, and the school forgot to invite our teachers. They then gave us a framed picture of the school that had screwed us."
8. "They did a pre-recorded ceremony posted to YouTube the morning of our originally planned ceremony and claimed they would 'honor the class of 2020' in person at homecoming next fall. Oh, and they gave us all a 'special gift' with our diplomas in the mail...it was an alumni license plate cover."
—Anonymous, 25, NY
9. "I was supposed to have my graduation in 2020, but of course, due to COVID, it got canceled. They sent out an email a year later saying that they would be holding a graduation for over 5,000 students. But here’s the real kicker: You had to pre-register and do it quickly because they didn’t have enough space for all 5,000 kids to graduate."
10. "I had a math teacher who hated me all four years of high school, to the point where I was glad to switch to online learning in 2020 because it meant that I didn't have to look at her anymore. I wasn't the best student but managed to pull through, and was told by my guidance counselor that I would be able to graduate with the rest of my class. My school celebrated the seniors with a drive-through graduation where they'd hand you your diploma. When I drove up, my math teacher was there, saw me, and went, 'What are you doing here? You didn't graduate.'
11. "Our school canceled our graduation but said that for a small fee, they'd send us a graduation 'gift bag' full of gifts to help us celebrate during the PowerPoint presentation in place of an actual ceremony. The gift bag contained a cheap bag of confetti, a Subway coupon, and a T-shirt with our Dean Of Students' face on it that they wanted us to take a picture in to promote the school on social media. I've never donated anything to Goodwill so fast."
—Anonymous, 24, AL
12. "I graduated high school in 2020, and when our school canceled graduation, a bunch of kids thought that wasn't fair and decided to have their own 'graduation party' that was just a bunch of people getting drunk at someone's house. The party ended up being a super spreader event."
13. "I graduated high school in 2020, and my senior class spent the last three months of school putting together a video yearbook for the seniors. This one girl was in charge of putting it together, so we all submitted any photos we wanted to be featured over to her. When the video was released, it was literally just a five-and-a-half-minute video full of photos of this one girl and her group of friends. This was meant to celebrate the entire class, and it literally just looked like a slideshow at her graduation party. I was so mad."
—Anonymous, 21, WI
14. "Typically, the students graduate in a big in-school ceremony with all the parents, as well as teachers and all other students. Because of COVID restrictions, only the parents OR other students could come, so they decided to do an after-school ceremony with just the parents and made you pay $20 per person (including graduating students) when the much-better, whole-school graduation had always been free. I was so mad that I had to pay to be at my own graduation."
15. "My major is so challenging that only around 30% of the people who enter the program end up graduating from it. Because of this, it's a long-held tradition in my school that if you graduate summa cum laude in the program, you get honored at a fancy dinner that the school pays for. I studied my ass off for four years dreaming about this celebration. When I finally did manage to graduate summa cum laude, the dinner had to be canceled. I absolutely understood and assumed that we'd just have the dinner when it was safe to do so. Nope! About two weeks later, I got a card in the mail congratulating me on my achievement and a $5 Starbucks gift card."
16. "I graduated in May 2021, when most universities had in-person ceremonies. Instead, my school had a virtual ceremony live-streamed on YouTube. I got a box in the mail with confetti poppers, a selfie stick, and a computer light for our virtual graduation message that the school wanted us to upload when our names were displayed. I also received a fake diploma rolled up in blue ribbon. That December, an in-person ceremony was held during the middle of the week at noon for 2020 and 2021 graduates. I was working full time and skipped my own make-up ceremony."
—Anonymous, 22, Florida
17. "They sent a Zoom background of the university president holding their hand out so we could pretend to be shaking her hand."
—Anonymous, 25, Oregon
18. "My university put on an outdoor concert for the seniors and made us buy tickets before telling us it was a first-come-first-serve event, as they couldn't fit all of us in the event. There were only three musical acts, one of which was a physics teacher I had freshman year playing Elton John's 'Candle in the Wind' over and over again."
19. "I graduated in 2020, and my school swore up and down for two years that they'd give us an in-person ceremony when it became safe. In 2021, they canceled an in-person ceremony and promised that class the same thing. In March, it was announced that the class of 2022 would be getting an in-person ceremony, and I noticed that my college had become suspiciously quiet about a ceremony for the class of 2020 and 2021. So, I reached out to them to ask how they were planning to honor our classes, to which I got no response. So, really, I got nothing."
—Anonymous, 25, TX
20. "I'm the first in my family to graduate from college, and my parents were so excited to watch me graduate that we bought four extra graduation tickets so that my aunt and cousins could come with us to see me graduate. But then COVID happened, and my university refused to refund me for the extra tickets because technically the ceremony wasn't canceled, just 'postponed' indefinitely. I was also supposed to receive my diploma in the mail, but never got it."
—Anonymous, 24, OR
21. "A live gecko. I was graduating from high school, and my school either misplaced or forgot my diploma, so to make up for it, my science teacher gave me the gecko that had been living in our science room all year."