On Graduating During a Pandemic

By Emily Kelleher

The sun is shining. My mom makes salad for lunch. My dad cleans up after dinner. A dozen Newhouse alumni get on Zoom on a Sunday to wish the seniors a happy graduation. They tell us how they graduated right before 9/11, or amidst the 2008 financial crisis, or last year, how it was hard for them and it will be hard for us, how we can reach out anytime. The birds chirp, the mail comes, the rejection emails signal that somebody somewhere is at least aware of my job applications. Maybe. My body moves and heals and tastes and sees, remains healthy even when the only thoughts I give to it are about how my stomach protrudes/thighs touch/arms jiggle/acne scars. I came home from college for the last time to a house strung with decorations from four different stores and a table set with all of my favorite foods. My favorite song is playing. One day soon I’ll hug my nieces again. There is so much to be grateful for.

Emily Kelleher is a journalist based in New York.