Like many students before them, members of the class of 2020 have always known that their graduation would be memorable. Little did they know, their graduations would be unlike any others that have come before. Instead of the packing into stadiums and onto campus greens, graduates have celebrated their accomplishments in Zoom calls, posing solo in their cap and gown and experienced their commencement quarantined at the family home.
In interviews for the TIME series Reports with Katie Couric, grads shared their experience of graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic with Couric, and discussing what it’s like to face an uncertain future.
Several graduates admitted to Couric that they were disappointed to miss out on the graduation they’d worked so hard for. Others said that they felt like they’d been denied a sense of “closure” after having to leave school early and without a chance to say goodbye to their friends.
“It was the one moment, I thought, like a lot of my family and friends would be able to see where I’ve been for four years,” Daniel Labrousse of the University of Chicago.
Graduates also said that they are nervous about trying to enter the workforce during a time of such economic uncertainty and high unemployment, and that they’re concerned about addressing their student loan debt. Several said that they had job offers rescinded or lost opportunities, and that the pandemic has left them without a clear way forward.
“It kind of feels like I’m back to step one, just looking for a job all over again,” Muhammad Zeeshan of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Watch the full video above.
This interview is part of a special series produced in collaboration with Katie Couric. See more from TIME Reports with Katie Couric, and sign up for her weekday morning newsletter Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric.