And with the rules against overcrowded gatherings, it feels like the cheerful function has been stripped of some gloss and becomes hollow and empty.
Welcome to virtual graduations. No more bus transporting villagers to colleges.
After months of uncertainty flooded announcements: Mount Kenya University (MKU), Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the University of Nairobi, Kabarak University, Multimedia University, and others would all host virtual graduation events.
And degrees would be awarded to the graduating class via video link – for the second year in a row.
Traditionally, this event would have attracted crowds . Though carefully planned, from seating to staging, most graduates missed it.
But this year graduates have one thing in common – virtual ceremonies. Some were excited while many others were disappointed.
“I haven’t felt like a graduate yet. I feel like I haven’t made the most of my four years. If I get another chance to do it the normal way, I’ll do it, “said Sasha Idebe, a graduate of MKU.
” I was at home and loved my family viewed the graduation ceremony. I was in my pajamas. I thought it was going to be a happy day, but it turned out to be a normal day for me. “
For some it didn’t feel like a graduation ceremony without a crowd of cheers from the family, when the school chancellor called her name.
Elijah Githugo has a degree in applied physics and computer science from Multimedia University.
“It felt different. The excitement was there, but physically I didn’t mind, “he said.
” Personally, I was at work, but I had my dress in my pocket. My office colleagues celebrated when they heard my name and saw my picture on the screen. ”
But unlike many others, Linda Makhapila, who graduated from JKUAT with a degree in microbiology, found the virtual degree is good and bad.
“It was good because not many people were involved. Only when you post it yourself will you know that you really graduated, and I’ve avoided so many questions like, ‘What did you graduate with?’ “She said.
” At the same time, it was a bad experience because the graduation is always a hyped ceremony. Family members are only traveling to celebrate your success, but the virtual one has restricted their participation and they are inland and cannot sit and watch anything on TV.
“And it didn’t have that deep feeling, that associated with festivities that are held physically. ”
Roselyn Wangechi, a UoN graduate, wasn’t bothered to hear that her school was going to hold a virtual ceremony.
“I’ve always considered myself an introvert. I was happy when they announced the graduation would take place online because I would graduate from the comfort of my home and sip my coffee in peace,” she said.
“I always find crowds a bit hectic and with all the insane traffic just to attend a two-hour ceremony and they might not even call your name, I loved watching what was going on on TV.”
Gregory Muleli, a JKUAT graduate in microbiology, said the virtual degree was well planned.
“The most important thing was to be on the graduation list, to have the clothes we paid for, and at least to be take pictures while you carry them as memories, “he said.
” A regular graduation would allow family members to party with you and it would have cost a lot of money. My family watched the ceremony at home and it was cheaper. “
When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in March 2020, the government restricted public gatherings to contain the spread of the respiratory disease.
Shiphrah Diana, a graduate of Kabarak University, was delighted that there were no physical graduation events.
“I liked it. I didn’t have to worry who was next to me because you never know who is next to you. I went to see it with my family and that was it, ”she said.