The coronavirus pandemic affected millions of students around the world when life as we know it was put on pause in March 2020. The students in our scholarship program were no exception. Schools shut down, and students transitioned to virtual learning as much as they could. Many families in the areas where we work have limited access to the Internet, fewer have access to a computer, so students struggled with how to stay connected and continue learning.
For many students, the shutdown also meant missing their graduation, a goal they had worked years and years to accomplish.
In our scholarship program, four students graduated college, and eight students graduated high school amidst the pandemic. Congratulations to them! 🎉
Today, we’ll hear from two of our college graduates, Ricardo and Ailed, about what it was like to graduate in 2020.
What is your degree?
Ricardo: Engineering focused in information technology
Ailed: Engineering focused in project management
How were your classes conducted between March and your graduation?
Ricardo: The last semester was an internship, where we were going to review the progress of the project that we were carrying out in the company, so everything was in-person with our advisors.
Ailed: My classes were virtual. The Office 365 application was used frequently
How did your school do graduation?
Ricardo: Supposedly it was going to be done virtually in May, but they postponed it until September, and so far, they have not said anything!
Ailed: Graduation was postponed, and there has not been any sort of commemorative event.
What was the most difficult thing about graduating during the pandemic?
Ricardo: The most difficult thing was that (the company I interned for) sent home those who were more likely to get sick, and some of those were my bosses, and it was very difficult to get their signatures and all the administrative paperwork.
Ailed: I think the most difficult thing was not having a commemorative event for our goal and not celebrating it with the people who supported us throughout the journey.
How would you describe your experience finishing your degree during the pandemic?
Ricardo: I feel very happy having finished my studies with my friends, although on the other hand, I’m sad for not having a graduation 🎓 for a great achievement of my life.
Ailed: A big challenge, because the last rounds of our projects were not carried out properly since everything was by mail, and it is easier for the conversation and ideas to flow better when you are face to face.
What are your plans now?
Ricardo: Find a good, well-paying job and improve myself every day by learning new things and studying another degree that I have in mind!
Ailed: For the moment, I am working in a media company, and once this calms down and we can attend face-to-face classes, I have two options: study a master’s degree in quality control or a new degree, which would be languages.
We are so proud of Ricardo, Ailed, and the rest of our high school and college graduates, who achieved a major accomplishment with the added difficulty of virtually learning through a pandemic! Our prayers are with them for their journeys ahead, as well as with the students who continue to struggle with online learning and lack of necessary resources in their homes.
If you are interested in sponsoring a student through our scholarship program, find out more here.