A letter to the UNCW graduating class of Spring 2020


Darius Melton

Darius Melton, Opinion Editor

Commencement is postponed. That sucks.

If you have been a student at UNC Wilmington for the past few years, it is clear that this run has been rocky. Fall 2018 saw Hurricane Florence take us out of school for a month, and right when we got back to school, Tropical Storm (née Hurricane) Michael hit. A year later, Hurricane Dorian threatened to do as much damage as Florence, though our time off was halved.

We thought we were good for the rest of the year—and then we got hit with a pandemic. The world is shut down, government in-fighting is still peaking, and yes, commencement is postponed.

Before I get to the unabashedly positive half of this article, I do want to say that if you are feeling bummed out, your feelings are valid. I would be surprised if you were not taking this hard. Do not take this article as me saying that you should be overjoyed in this situation; I am just providing an alternative point of view.

The point of view in question: we are still at the finish line.

With or without a ceremony, come May 9, we are still graduating. Your time as an undergraduate—or maybe even as a graduate school student—will be over, and you can finally move onto the next big phase of your life, whether that means moving on to grad school, starting a career or returning to a previous career with more to offer as an employee. This ending—bleak as it may look at first—is an accomplishment all in of itself.

Some of you came straight to UNCW after high school. Others transferred from community colleges or another university. Some of you have been here for more than four years, and some of you have been here for less, having come from AP classes or an early college high school. Some of you have careers and families while others are figuring it out.

Regardless of how you got here, you got here.

Regular classes end April 29. Exams end on May 7. And though you still have until June 30 to decide to modify your grades to either a Pass or a Fail to save your GPA, that does not require much more work on your end. For the most part, we are exactly one month away from ending this important chapter of our lives.

Things are not perfect right now—that goes without saying—but there are things to be proud of, and your own exodus out of UNCW is one thing at the top of that list.

Stay safe. Wash your hands. Keep your grades above a D-.

You have earned your degree. That is something to smile about.