COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thousands of students set to graduate from Ohio State University this spring will have to wait on taking that walk across the field to get their diploma. That's because the university has postponed spring commencement in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
At least 12,000 students were set to graduate from Ohio State this spring, but now with graduation suspended, disappointment has set in for many, including one first generation college student who was looking forward to her family seeing her get her diploma.
- Graduation date still to be determined
- Transition to online classes starts Monday
- Amber Strickland will be the first in her family to graduate with a bachelor's degree
Disappointed is just one way to describe how Amber Strickland felt after reading the latest news from Ohio State University.
"This was finally like my time to be like, like I did it. Like I made it!." she said.
After all, the Criminology and Criminal Justice major from Canton, Ohio worked hard over the last three years and said the journey's been anything but easy.
"College for me has been stressful. I've dealt with a lot of anxiety. I'm a first- generation college student. So, coming to college was something big for me, but also something that was very challenging,” Strickland said.
With her extended spring break coming to a close, Strickland said college has been a blessing, since a lot of people from her hometown don't have the opportunity.
Although getting her high school diploma was one highlight of her life, since she was at the top of her class, the chance to celebrate getting a bachelor's degree with her family means a lot more.]
"To people, like, a degree is just a piece of paper. To me, it was just like after everything that I experienced, I finally get to show my family I made it. I didn't give up. I didn't quit,” Strickland said.
Seeing that chance potentially slip away would be heartbreaking, but Strickland and her family are still trying to look at the bright side.
"Of course, like, we're upset, but you still made it. So even though we are upset that I won't have the opportunity to possibly be able to walk, like, my family's still excited that I'm still graduating," she said.
Starting Monday, Strickland and other students start online classes to finish out the semester. With about a month left to go, she remains optimistic that the university will set a date so that she can have one more opportunity to celebrate.
Ohio State has not set a new date for their Spring Commencement yet.
While OSU isn't the only university that's postponed graduation across the state, colleges like Ohio University, in Athens, have told their students that they'll be getting refunds on their cap and gown fees. And the Columbus College of Art and Design has offered students the chance to celebrate virtually or walk with the next graduating class.