Opinion: I am still hopeful for an in-person commencement ceremony this year

After an entire year of virtual learning, it would be so meaningful to be able to have a commencement ceremony that is not virtual, and continued efficient vaccine distribution leaves me hopeful that a commencement ceremony is possible for my classmates and me this year. 

Michelle Wang

This past year has not been like any other, especially for students and educators. We quickly shifted into a new distanced learning environment, and for many college students like me, I not only missed the benefits of in-person instruction but also the social interaction with my friends and professors. However, as the vaccine continues to roll out quickly, I am hopeful that my final year as a college student will end on a positive note, and I will be able to celebrate our commencement in-person with my fellow University of Minnesota students.

The hope we are all feeling as more and more people receive the vaccine would not be possible without healthcare distributors. Distributors are the logistics experts that make sure our hospitals, pharmacies and mass vaccination sites have COVID-19 vaccines available and ready to administer. They have delivered millions of vaccines with millions more on the way — meaning our schools, businesses and organizations are that much closer to fully reopening.

Just look at how fast the process was from when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved, to it being distributed to administration sites in our state. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmaceutical healthcare distributors have been working nonstop to ensure patients have access to everyday medications, and now these same healthcare distributors are working in overdrive to deliver the vaccines.

For so many college students last spring, they could not celebrate their college graduation due to canceled commencement ceremonies. After an entire year of virtual learning, it would be so meaningful to be able to have a commencement ceremony that is not virtual, and continued efficient vaccine distribution leaves me hopeful that a commencement ceremony is possible for my classmates and me this year.

This OpEd essay was submitted by Michelle Wang, a University of Minnesota student majoring in finance with a minor in sustainability studies. 

This letter has been lightly edited for style and clarity.