20May2020

Graduation: We Did It! – Jasmin (Germany)

I waited for this moment for so long, that final click that would send my Master thesis on its way. After having been working on this single project for almost a year now, I thought I would feel all the feelings when finally handing it in. But it all came a little different than expected; 2020 happened!

Interview for ETV last year. Feels like an another era.
Photo Credits: Eduardo Torres.

            I mean what a year it has been (!) and we are only halfway through this wild ride. I, like probably many of you in Tartu and everywhere else, had pretty high expectations for my last semester. I wanted to enjoy my last months in Tartu before it was time to pack my bags and move on; wanted to see my friends and enjoy the ever-getting longer days with them. The big finale of it all was meant to be the graduation, a big celebration with my friends and also family to conclude it all.

Graduation Day
Photo Credits: Gettyimages

But because of the Coronavirus everything had to change. While I was tremendously disappointed when learning about the cancellation, I know that it is the right decision and that holding such a large scale event, that is largely about shaking hands and hugging, would not be responsible. Still I felt like that big end to studying in Tartu and even to being a student was just gone. This light at the end of the tunnel after transcribing, analysing and editing, was simply not happening anymore. It seemed like we would all just leave in silence and move on with our lives. Sure, studying is not essentially about graduation but rather learning and earning a degree. It might seem somewhat superficial to care this much about the graduation ceremony, of course its cancellation is not in anyway a serious outcome of this crisis. Still, this one big moment, celebration of all graduates’ achievements is an important part of studying. It recognizes the effort you have put into your studies. Also, it’s an event that your parents can easily get behind without really knowing what your degree has been about.

UT Graduation
Photo Credits: UT

But all the work, the coffee-fuelled all-nighters stuck in your room trying to figure out how to make this thesis happening, weren’t cancelled with graduation.

We still did that!

We wrote a whole ass thesis in times of extreme uncertainty, and with limited resources. The university definitely tried to help all students as much as possible by making books available through the online system. And also, without sometimes much needed hugs from friends, that were normally around all time, but seemed so far away all the sudden. But despite it all you finished that thesis! You worked through it and managed to do something that is difficult under any circumstances and for that you should be proud.

Even without the fancy ceremony and the big celebration, we did it and that is what matters! Pat yourself on the back, have a little glass of prosecco at home and celebrate yourself graduating, even if is happening online. We might not have a ceremony in person, but we can still celebrate making these thesis’ happen, just not all together. So, go out, dress up and take those graduation pictures; you put in the work that much didn’t change. Treat yourself to something nice, that makes you feel good and be proud of yourself!

Not this one, but hopefully next year.
Photo Credits: ERR

            But don’t feel discouraged if you didn’t get to cross the finish line just yet. This is all new to everybody, don’t beat yourself for not being able to finish studying with only online sources. Everything changed and access to so many resources like interview participants, fieldwork or elaborates became so much more difficult if not impossible; but that’s not on you!

            You are still making it; you are hanging in there!