Plans change for class of 2020


Courtesy of technofaq

The class of 2020 will have a unique story of commencement.

By Emily Driskel, Reporter

Originally, the spring of 2020 was planned to be filled with seniors taking photos in their caps and gowns, a large commencement ceremony and graduation parties. But instead, a global pandemic spread across the country, and plans had to be altered.

Inga Erickson, completing a B.S. in athletic training, said COVID-19 affected her plans for the summer.

“It has delayed my board of certification exam that I need to take by two months and leaves me unsure about my start date for my graduate assistant position in the fall,” Erickson said.

Erickson will attend graduate school for a master’s of movement and leisure sciences in the fall at the University of Idaho and has not gotten word if classes will be in-person or not. The pandemic has not affected Erickson’s living situation next year.

“Luckily I’m moving in with my sister who lives over there, so it hasn’t affected my moving process,” said Erickson.

Erickson’s program is very hands-on, and it was a challenge to not have in-person classes this quarter.

“Not being able to have that hands on learning makes it harder for me,” said Erickson. “Not being around my classmates for support and help is challenging.”

Kyle Tauscher needed 200 observation hours in order to get a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.

The class of 2020 will graduate online. In the past, EWU commencement has occurred at the Spokane Arena. Courtesy of EWU

“I was hoping to get most of them done this spring/summer,” Tauscher said. “But all the clinics have closed their doors, which means I don’t know if I’ll be able to complete any. It may mean I have to come back in the fall.”

Not being in class for spring quarter was difficult for Tauscher when it comes to learning.

“I feel more comfortable in a classroom setting than on Zoom calls and online classes,” said Tauscher.

Tauscher was supposed to get married this summer, but with the current situation, he had to push it back.

Anne Arbanas, a dental hygiene graduate, has had to alter her summer traveling plans.

“This summer I planned on going to Kolkata, India, for a month-long mission trip which was officially canceled last month,” said Arbanas. “With limited travel and a general uncertainty of how India would be affected come August, the group I was going with decided to play it safe and cancel.”

Arbanas was able to graduate on time, but has to study this summer for national board examinations that were supposed to be completed by May 4.

“As a prospective dental hygienist, I am required to take six national board examinations in order to become licensed,” said Arbanas. “If things go as planned from here, I will finally become a Registered Dental Hygienist in mid-August, three months later than expected.”

Arbanas plans to work as a dental assistant until all exams are completed, so she can start a lifelong career as a hygienist.

Julia Jasa, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, was going to start her master’s program but decided to take a year break due to online classes in the fall.

“I really enjoy the classroom aspect of school in that I can get to know my classmates and ask questions,” said Jasa.

Jasa has been hired by a small software company in Spokane, and COVID-19 has prevented her from actually meeting her coworkers.

“This has left somewhat of a gap in getting to know my team,” said Jasa.

Jasa said that spring quarter is always the highlight of the year for her and her friends.

Courtesy of EWU

“We always enjoy hanging out on campus together and soaking in the sun,” Jasa said. “Missing that last part of my last quarter is very disappointing.”

Jasa said although this has been hard for everyone, she appreciates her professors and faculty for adapting to this situation.

Jose Mendoza, attending graduate school this summer for athletic training, said that COVID-19 has changed his plans for the summer.

“[EWU] has decided to make all summer quarter online,” said Mendoza. “Online courses are good, but not optimal in learning a profession which is mainly hands-on.”

With summer and fall quarter being online, Mendoza worries that high school sports may not happen in the fall.

“A lot of us get some of our real life experience working with high school sports,” Mendoza said. “If there’s no sports, I wonder how we will get our experience.”

Kara Nitteberg, with a degree in education, said she will be done with school this spring, and all plans are tentative as she sees how the restrictions are lifted. Nitteberg said she should be doing full-time student teaching in the classroom.

“I am still working closely with my assigned school so the process has been interesting,” said Nitteberg. “This would be the time of year that school districts would be posting openings for the fall, but those seem to be on hold.”

Nitteberg said this is an unusual time for everyone, so she tries to embrace the unknown and stay positive.

“EWU’s education department has worked hard to adapt to online learning and make this quarter an authentic experience for the education students,” Nitteberg said.