Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Class of 2024 Reflects On College Years Marked by COVID-19, Protests and Life’s Lost Milestones; USC Seniors Who Didn’t Have High School Graduations Due to COVID ‘in tears’ Over Canceled Ceremony as Campus Overrun by Anti-Israel Protests, and other C-Virus related stories

Class of 2024 reflects on college years marked by COVID-19, protests and life’s lost milestones:
On a recent afternoon, Grant Oh zigzagged across the University of Southern California campus as if he was conquering an obstacle course, coming up against police blockade after police blockade on his way to his apartment while officers arrested demonstrators protesting the Israel-Hamas war.
In many ways, the chaotic moment was the culmination of a college life that started amid the coronavirus pandemic and has been marked by continual upheaval in what has become a constant battle for normalcy. Oh already missed his prom and his high school graduation as COVID-19 surged in 2020. He started college with online classes. Now the 20-year-old will add another missed milestone to his life: USC has canceled its main commencement ceremony that was expected to be attended by 65,000 people.
His only graduation ceremony was in middle school and there were no caps and gowns.
“It’s crazy because I remember starting freshman year with the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which came after senior year of high school when the Black Lives Matter protests were happening and COVID, and xenophobia,” he said “It feels definitely surreal. It still shocks me that we live in a world that is so fired up and so willing to tear itself apart.”
Oh, who is getting a degree in health promotion and disease prevention, added that his loss of a memorable moment pales in comparison to what is happening: “At the end of the day, people are dying.”
College campuses have always been a hotbed for protests from the civil rights era to the Vietnam war to demonstrations over apartheid in South Africa. But students today also carry additional stresses from having lived through the isolation and fear from the pandemic, and the daily influence of social media that amplifies the world’s wrongs like never before, experts say.
It’s not just about missed milestones. Study after study shows Generation Z suffers from much higher rates of anxiety and depression than Millennials, said Jean Twenge, a psychologist and professor at San Diego State University, who wrote a book called “Generations.” She attributes much of that to the fact that negativity spreads faster and wider on social media than positive posts.
“Gen Z, they tend to be much more pessimistic than Millennials,” she said. “The question going forward is do they take this pessimism and turn it into concrete action and change, or do they turn it into annihilation and chaos?” --->READ MORE HERE
USC seniors who didn’t have high school graduations due to COVID ‘in tears’ over canceled ceremony as campus overrun by anti-Israel protests:
She’s a sad grad.
Four years after her high school graduation ceremony was scrapped because of pandemic restrictions, a University of Southern California senior is “in tears” at the school’s decision this week to cancel its “main stage” graduation following out-of-control anti-Israel protests on campus.
“If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would graduate high school and not have a graduation, get into USC, go all four years at USC and not have a graduation, I would have been like, what? Like, that doesn’t make sense,” USC senior Gracie Flynn said in a Thursday TikTok captioned “just so upsetting and disappointing.”
tiktok from frustrated usc
“We as a whole senior class have never had a real graduation because of COVID first, which we thought was like a one-time thing,” Flynn laments in the video, which has amassed over 2.6 million views so far.
“Now all my roommates are depressed and we [are] all just literally sitting in the living room, like, in tears,” the gloomy grad continues.
On Wednesday, police arrested nearly 100 student demonstrators at USC during tense protests opposing Israel’s war in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on the Jewish state.
One protestor was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, LAPD said.
While Flynn acknowledges that “a lot has been going on” with “protests and everything” on the elite California school’s campus recently, “I just feel like there could’ve been a different way to go about this than to cancel the graduation for a class that never even got a high school graduation either,” she bemoans in the two-and-a-half-minute-long clip. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Graduating Seniors Reflect on a College Experience That Began in Isolation

New COVID-19 ‘FLiRT’ variants could mean a summer surge

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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