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The Hoosier Oxonian

A space to grieve (don't read if taking mental health break from COVID-19 news)

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I'm trying not to wallow in how sad I am right now, but I wanted to take this opportunity to offer a forum for those watching major milestones crumble before them thanks to the pandemic to offer mutual support. My own circumstance is that as a graduating senior, I've had the remainder of my face-to-face classes cancelled for the semester (we're going online), so I'll never have another proper class at my university. The university has also cancelled all non-class events, so several ceremonies at which I was to receive quite significant honors (including being recognized at the Chancellor's Scholar for the School of Liberal Arts, an award given to the most outstanding student from each of the university's academic units) will not be held. My commencement has not yet been officially cancelled, but we've been forewarned that this is likely. I was also supposed to present at two conferences (my first ever) this spring. One, a small, low stakes, but still exciting graduate conference, has been cancelled. The other, a once-in-a-career opportunity at a significant international conference in the UK that I'd been planning for for almost a year, hasn't yet been cancelled (though I'll be shocked if it isn't), but with the chaos currently reigning in airports and new travel restrictions being handed down almost daily, I can't possibly attend and present even if said conference is not cancelled.

I know these are very much first-world problems and that others are far more injured than I by this global catastrophe, and I understand and support the need to take drastic measures to protect the most vulnerable in our society, but I still feel it's appropriate to express grief at having all the major events and opportunities I was looking forward to for the next several months taken away. I hope this doesn't come off as whining - my aim is to create a safe, supportive space for those of us experiencing pandemic-related heartbreak right now to let it out. Anyone else want to share?

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17 minutes ago, The Hoosier Oxonian said:

I know these are very much first-world problems and that others are far more injured than I by this global catastrophe, and I understand and support the need to take drastic measures to protect the most vulnerable in our society, but I still feel it's appropriate to express grief at having all the major events and opportunities I was looking forward to for the next several months taken away. I hope this doesn't come off as whining - my aim is to create a safe, supportive space for those of us experiencing pandemic-related heartbreak right now to let it out. Anyone else want to share?

This is so heartbreaking, and it's absolutely appropriate for you to mourn the loss of these months! Please also remember that even though you're not able to go to the conferences or accept the awards to applause (i.e., take the honors that you deserve!!), you have still achieved all these things--I mean that both in the sense that you should feel just as good about your accomplishments, but more to the point, all of this still belongs on a CV, like so:

Invited Presentations
"Title" at Conference, Location, Date *
"Title" at Conference, Location, Date*

*These conferences were not held due to global health crisis from COVID019.

You'll not be the only one with an asterisk--everyone's careers will be in the same boat. So don't worry about that.

But in the meantime... it sucks so much that you're missing these things, as well as just your remaining months at university. It's cosmically unfair, and I'm very sorry, in the sense of being quite sad for you and for your peers. Also I will personally eat anyone who quips "Life isn't fair" in response to college seniors' sadness at the things they're set to miss out on. 

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26 minutes ago, caffeinated applicant said:

This is so heartbreaking, and it's absolutely appropriate for you to mourn the loss of these months! Please also remember that even though you're not able to go to the conferences or accept the awards to applause (i.e., take the honors that you deserve!!), you have still achieved all these things--I mean that both in the sense that you should feel just as good about your accomplishments, but more to the point, all of this still belongs on a CV, like so:

Invited Presentations
"Title" at Conference, Location, Date *
"Title" at Conference, Location, Date*

*These conferences were not held due to global health crisis from COVID019.

You'll not be the only one with an asterisk--everyone's careers will be in the same boat. So don't worry about that.

But in the meantime... it sucks so much that you're missing these things, as well as just your remaining months at university. It's cosmically unfair, and I'm very sorry, in the sense of being quite sad for you and for your peers. Also I will personally eat anyone who quips "Life isn't fair" in response to college seniors' sadness at the things they're set to miss out on. 

Your kind words are so appreciated, as is the reminder that I can still claim these accomplishments even if they didn't quite play out. And you're absolutely right that everyone is in this boat  - it helps to remember that we're all having a horrible time together and this isn't any one person's individual terrible fate. Isn't it strange to think that in a generation or two, this will be the thing that we the older people will be answering curious questions about from youngsters who can't remember or weren't yet born?

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The biggest hurt for me is the possibility of not having commencement. I come from a marginalized community and made it into a top-tier program at a school that many dream of. Since day one I daydreamed of my parents coming to see me cross the finish line at this prestigious dream school. I just wanted them to see me do that. I know its dumb, but I work hard in large part to make them feel proud of me because I love them and want to succeed beyond what is normal in our community. I have been agonizing about this being cancelled. I hope this whole thing just gets under control soon. 

Thank you for this thread, I am glad I'm not the only one. 

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1 hour ago, The Hoosier Oxonian said:

The other, a once-in-a-career opportunity at a significant international conference in the UK that I'd been planning for for almost a year, hasn't yet been cancelled (though I'll be shocked if it isn't), but with the chaos currently reigning in airports and new travel restrictions being handed down almost daily, I can't possibly attend and present even if said conference is not cancelled.

Have just received word that the conference is officially cancelled. The organizers hope to reschedule for some future date but can't make any concrete plans at this juncture. On top of my heart being broken about the conference itself, I'm desperately hoping I'll be able to get back the more than $1600 I spent on travel and registration fees for this. I don't have adequate words for my sadness - this was the thing I was most looking forward to in my life for almost a year now; I was honestly almost more excited about this than about getting into Yale.

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Totally get this. Had two conferences planned, one of which would have for the first time brought me directly into contact with the artists creating the most significant contemporary works in one my main fields (queer game studies). And campus visits, of course. And I’ll be the first in my immediate family with a grad degree, so I was also excited about commencement. It really sucks, but now I’m just doing my best to look ahead to doctoral studies and how excited I am for that.

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2 hours ago, hajjibaba said:

The biggest hurt for me is the possibility of not having commencement. I come from a marginalized community and made it into a top-tier program at a school that many dream of. Since day one I daydreamed of my parents coming to see me cross the finish line at this prestigious dream school. I just wanted them to see me do that. I know its dumb, but I work hard in large part to make them feel proud of me because I love them and want to succeed beyond what is normal in our community. I have been agonizing about this being cancelled. I hope this whole thing just gets under control soon. 

Thank you for this thread, I am glad I'm not the only one. 

I hear you fellow hajji...I come from a marginalized/racialized community and I just graduated and applied for a number of jobs...to my horror some of the jobs have disappeared altogether...and when I looked all over the internet for traces of UFO-abduction, I came across a message stating that the position was cancelled by the organization.  I blame Covid-19. For the moment, the conference I am expecting to attend has not been cancelled and registration begins in the summer...let's hope for the best...

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Posted (edited)

I just feel so pent up. I'm sitting on a waitlist I'd really like to get accepted to, and all the usual things I'd be doing right now to distract myself and feel better about the wait (going out with friends, watching baseball, even just going to a cafe to read) have all vanished. I was planning to go visit family in California; that clearly isn't happening anymore. Professors have also (understandably) stopped being easy to get in contact with. 

Plus I feel guilty about worrying so much about my immediate career/personal goals when members of my family are at high risk.

Edited by SolusRex

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I’m glad you posted this. I’m experiencing somewhat similar losses and have no real place to grieve them. I’m at home with my family during this pandemic but, none of them are particularly supportive of my educational pursuits or understand how great a loss I’m at with cancelled conferences, commencement, recognition ceremonies, and more. I’m devastated. And I know it’s all first world problems and it really doesn’t matter if I walk across a stage, but it just... feels so sad and unfinished, for all the reasons so many of you have listed and more. One of the Master’s I’m finishing (I did two concurrently) was in creative writing, and I’ve been working for years on this novel. I was supposed to present/perform some sections of it in a reading soon, and now I won’t be able to do that either. I’m so bummed. :( 

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Thank you for this thread! I hope everyone tries to find some way to destress during this difficult situation.

I am so, so frustrated. The US embassy in my country has suspended visa applications, and I'm not sure how I'll get to graduate school by August with this coronavirus situation. I can imagine so many barriers on top of my family: acquiring a visa, quarantine, healthcare, etc. I just don't know what to do, and I feel so helpless. :(

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2 hours ago, chickenist said:

Thank you for this thread! I hope everyone tries to find some way to destress during this difficult situation.

I am so, so frustrated. The US embassy in my country has suspended visa applications, and I'm not sure how I'll get to graduate school by August with this coronavirus situation. I can imagine so many barriers on top of my family: acquiring a visa, quarantine, healthcare, etc. I just don't know what to do, and I feel so helpless. :(

This just brought a fresh wave of anxiety. I hope this will change by May/June. But that also means that it will probably take longer to get an appointment.

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On 3/16/2020 at 2:57 PM, The Hoosier Oxonian said:

I'm trying not to wallow in how sad I am right now, but I wanted to take this opportunity to offer a forum for those watching major milestones crumble before them thanks to the pandemic to offer mutual support. My own circumstance is that as a graduating senior, I've had the remainder of my face-to-face classes cancelled for the semester (we're going online), so I'll never have another proper class at my university. The university has also cancelled all non-class events, so several ceremonies at which I was to receive quite significant honors (including being recognized at the Chancellor's Scholar for the School of Liberal Arts, an award given to the most outstanding student from each of the university's academic units) will not be held. My commencement has not yet been officially cancelled, but we've been forewarned that this is likely. I was also supposed to present at two conferences (my first ever) this spring. One, a small, low stakes, but still exciting graduate conference, has been cancelled. The other, a once-in-a-career opportunity at a significant international conference in the UK that I'd been planning for for almost a year, hasn't yet been cancelled (though I'll be shocked if it isn't), but with the chaos currently reigning in airports and new travel restrictions being handed down almost daily, I can't possibly attend and present even if said conference is not cancelled.

I know these are very much first-world problems and that others are far more injured than I by this global catastrophe, and I understand and support the need to take drastic measures to protect the most vulnerable in our society, but I still feel it's appropriate to express grief at having all the major events and opportunities I was looking forward to for the next several months taken away. I hope this doesn't come off as whining - my aim is to create a safe, supportive space for those of us experiencing pandemic-related heartbreak right now to let it out. Anyone else want to share?

Similar boat and situation. My classes are also going online. Sorry to hear about the loss of ceremonies, travel conferences and other events. It is a truly unfortunate situation, on top of those affected globally.

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I know this is small in comparison to the scope of the problems many are facing, but on top of all else I've lost this semester, I was devastated to learn today that my university library is closing for the foreseeable future (despite initial promises that the library would remain open when teaching went online). I'm doing two independent studies with major research components this semester - how am I supposed to complete these to any kind of standard without access to a library? (Our online resources remain available, of course, but not every book is available electronically!) And I can't imagine the stress and worry for our graduate students who are working on theses or dissertations, or even fellow undergrads doing senior theses (I'm just incredibly lucky that I finished mine last semester - I couldn't possibly have done it under these circumstances, at least not to a standard that would have gotten me into PhD programs). I know there are much larger issues on the table, but I was counting on books for solace through this troubling time, and having my library access cut off feels like the scariest thing that's happened to me yet.

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Posted (edited)
On 3/21/2020 at 12:11 AM, The Hoosier Oxonian said:

I know this is small in comparison to the scope of the problems many are facing, but on top of all else I've lost this semester, I was devastated to learn today that my university library is closing for the foreseeable future (despite initial promises that the library would remain open when teaching went online). I'm doing two independent studies with major research components this semester - how am I supposed to complete these to any kind of standard without access to a library? (Our online resources remain available, of course, but not every book is available electronically!) And I can't imagine the stress and worry for our graduate students who are working on theses or dissertations, or even fellow undergrads doing senior theses (I'm just incredibly lucky that I finished mine last semester - I couldn't possibly have done it under these circumstances, at least not to a standard that would have gotten me into PhD programs). I know there are much larger issues on the table, but I was counting on books for solace through this troubling time, and having my library access cut off feels like the scariest thing that's happened to me yet.

You finished your PhD dissertation last semester? Congratulations! I finished mine and convocated last semester too! I don't know what would have happened given the circumstances of the world today...

Edited by Faith786

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40 minutes ago, Faith786 said:

You finished your PhD dissertation last semester? Congratulations! I finished mine and convocated last semester too! I don't know what would have happened given the circumstances of the world today...

I finished my undergrad senior thesis last semester. I could have graduated with my BA in December but decided to stick around because my scholarship covered me through the end of the school year and I thought I'd finish another minor and take some "just for fun" classes and graduate in May. In retrospect that doesn't seem like the greatest decision, but there's no way I could have known this would happen.

Congratulations on your dissertation!

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On 3/22/2020 at 11:29 AM, The Hoosier Oxonian said:

I finished my undergrad senior thesis last semester. I could have graduated with my BA in December but decided to stick around because my scholarship covered me through the end of the school year and I thought I'd finish another minor and take some "just for fun" classes and graduate in May. In retrospect that doesn't seem like the greatest decision, but there's no way I could have known this would happen.

Congratulations on your dissertation!

Thank you, congratulations on your undergrad senior thesis!!! 

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On 3/16/2020 at 1:57 PM, The Hoosier Oxonian said:

The other, a once-in-a-career opportunity at a significant international conference in the UK that I'd been planning for for almost a year, hasn't yet been cancelled (though I'll be shocked if it isn't), but with the chaos currently reigning in airports and new travel restrictions being handed down almost daily, I can't possibly attend and present even if said conference is not cancelled.

 

On 3/16/2020 at 2:23 PM, caffeinated applicant said:

Invited Presentations
"Title" at Conference, Location, Date *
"Title" at Conference, Location, Date*

This board also has some good resources on how to address canceled conferences in different formatting styles.

I think from what I've been told is to be careful of using "Invited Presentations" or "Invited Conferences" because it implies that the organizer(s) actively solicited you and that you didn't submit to a call for papers.

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3 hours ago, Warelin said:

I think from what I've been told is to be careful of using "Invited Presentations" or "Invited Conferences" because it implies that the organizer(s) actively solicited you and that you didn't submit to a call for papers.

Yes, certainly check with an advisor on wording! 

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On 3/16/2020 at 4:05 PM, hajjibaba said:

The biggest hurt for me is the possibility of not having commencement.

And that's a BIG hurt. Some schools are postponing Spring commencement to be held at a later date so that their students get the opportunity to achieve this milestone. Others are, sadly, cancelling the ceremonies outright. If yours cancels outright, I would ask whatever department handles commencement if it would be possible to "walk" at a later commencement. It's not unusual for people to do that for much less traumatic reasons, like they delayed "official" graduation because they won a summer fellowship and need to stay one extra term--but they "walk" in the ceremony in May with their cohort.

This whole situation sucks on so many levels, and while I'm not up for graduation (did mine a while ago), my heart breaks for everyone whose major milestones are being sidelined or taken away from them completely. It's perfectly acceptable to grieve ALL of the losses, first-world or otherwise.

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17 hours ago, foreigncorrespondent said:

To everyone grieving, I read this beautiful essay and it gave me some release. I hope it does for you too: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-coronavirus-and-the-ruptured-narrative-of-campus-life

Aww Dan! ❤️ 

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I'm so glad I found this thread! I just had to move back home due to my university kicking everyone out of housing, and it's so strange to suddenly be back home. There were so many things I wanted to do to say goodbye to my university and to DC that I won't get the chance to do now, and there's a lot of grief attached to being thrust into a new stage of life without properly leaving the one before. I like to have a lot of time to think and reflect around big life changes, and I guess I know have tons of time to reflect haha. But it is just really painful, as you all know, to know that I'll never get to be that person at that university anymore and that I never got to say goodbye!

My university is allowing us to participate in commencement next year (2021) which is really nice but obviously won't be the same. I'll be halfway through my master's and probably feeling very detached from my undergrad self, but at least it will be a nice reunion with my friends. 

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