Graduating during COVID

Graduating during COVID Image

This past year has been challenging on a number of different levels. That has made each of us have to think of ways to cope or work through this new challenge just in order to graduate. For some, it may have been a small inconvenience of not being able to go to parties on campus anymore. To others, it meant losing their financial aid or jobs that pay for their schooling. As a community and within our sub-communities in our own homes and neighborhoods. We have made it through this!

CHSS Graduation Ceremony 2021Psych GraduateWith our familiescelebrating in our bubble

Graduation may not have been inside this year or still have even been the traditional route of sitting with your cohorts. However, the feeling of being able to sit with your family who has been with you through this past year and been helping you get to this last leg of your journey is something more meaningful, and something CDC would be proud to see. Your accomplishments, challenges, and stories have inspired us throughout the pandemic. All of which we wanted to hear about from our recent graduates 


How was this different than other years and last year? 

Compared to when the pandemic first hit and when professors were trying to understand the shift to digital, just as much as the students, there has been a progressive change in how the psychology department professors handled classes, "During the pandemic, I found it very helpful when the Psyc department professors understood the importance of mental health and had no deadlines to assignments as long as it was completed before the semester ended. This was very helpful as it depended more on time management skills." - Romina Ferrufino, BS Clinical Psychology. Many of the students were happy with how deadlines were extended or made non-existent during this time to help with stress levels. The one big impact that was felt too many of the students that participated was how the research was impacted. While many were undergraduates and had not conducted research during their time at Mason, one undergraduate Honors student, Rachel Frietchen stated, "adjusting to the suspension of most research activities for a while [was a big shift]. Some successes have been going through the Honor's process. Dr. Chrosniak has been so helpful with providing guidance to the Honor's class as we navigate doing research virtually."


What were the challenges and successes after having done this for a year now? 

  • Self-discipline and time management were two of my biggest challenges. However, I felt comfortable and safe in my own home. - Khanh Nguyen, BS in Clinical and Forensic Psychology with a minor in Criminology, Law, and Society. 
  • There was less time to create meaningful relationships in classes, collaboration for group projects was more difficult, and it was harder to learn some of the course material completely on my own. - Abigail Rogers, BA in Human Factors and Applied Cognition with a Minor in Marketing and Health Promotion
  • Challenges: Scheduling/Coordinating Meetings, Accessing Data, Cancelled Conferences; Successes: Published two papers, awarded research grants and fellowships, completed my dissertation - Paul Beatty, P.h.D. in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience 
  • I felt like I didn't learn nearly as much online as I would have in person. Lower stakes made it easy to slack off and not really learn the content- Alyssa, BA in Forensic Psychology with a minor in Art and Visual Technology
  • Challenges were not being able to meet face to face with professors or having those hand on visuals. Successes were that even in a virtual learning environment, professors still had such enthusiasm to teach their students. - Alondra Arellano, Ba in Psychology.
  • Learning solely online was extremely difficult and I realize how vital in-person learning was to me. I had less distractions in a classroom and did not feel lonely. I haven't been able to make any friends in my online classes which has been difficult since my other relationships and friendships were challenged during the duration of the Pandemic. My grades were like a rollercoaster and the amounts of coffee I went through is enough to make a cardiologist faint. -Alexandra Dugger, BA in Psychology 
  • One of the biggest challenge was adjusting to a completely virtual education and maintaining my time management skills. I did take hybrid and online classes before therefore I was aware of how online classes work, but I have a 2nd grade niece who also went to virtual education and managing my education along with hers was very difficult to balance. - Romina Ferrufino, BS Clinical Psychology
  • I would definitely say maintaining mental health was a challenge for me. Especially in the beginning of the pandemic where we were strictly staying inside our houses for about a month or so. I had to come up with different ways to keep myself from falling into depression as well as dealing with my anxiety about life as we knew it changing. To manage I really started to get back into working out. I did workouts in my garage and went on runs which really helped with my overall well-being. I also got back into mediation and prayer which I have to say I'm really glad I got grateful I got into the habit of again. -Willmara Moyw, BA in ADP and IO with a minor in Business. 

Congratulations to all of our graduates during these trying times! You have truly proven to all of us that with dedication, perseverance, the grit to never quit. You can achieve your dreams and get your education, no matter what!