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Class of 2020, we see you

May 12, 2020
As we prepare to confer their degrees this week, we’re celebrating this year’s graduates by highlighting members of the class and their accomplishments. Congratulations to the Class of 2020 on everything you have achieved.

MAKING THEIR MARK: Each year, as our students prepare to receive their degrees, we take a moment to gather some members of the graduating class for some parting thoughts on their time here. This year was not a typical year, as everyone has had to get used to remote learning, social distance, and a virtual degree conferral. Despite these challenges, our students have still managed to find perspective on how they have grown in the last four years and what they will take with them in the next phase of their lives.

 

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It’s Wednesday and week five of remote classes and online learning, so we’re checking in with Rochester students to ask: How are you?⠀ ⠀ “Starting online classes has definitely been an adjustment, but it is actually going a lot better than I thought it would. While I miss my favorite campus study spots dearly (a piece of my heart currently resides in the Periodical Reading Room), I’ve been able to set up a nice spot in my dining room where I can focus pretty well. I appreciate how accommodating and creative my professors have been while adapting to zoom. One of my professors even made a class drinking game, where you bring your favorite health beverage to class and have to drink every time a dog barks, a parent walks in, the wifi goes out, etc. While this is not the senior spring I imagined, I’m so grateful for the continued support of my friends, family, and professors despite the distance between us, whether that is six feet or 600 miles.” ⠀ —Rachel Goodman ’20 (@rgoody21) is a health, behavior and society and psychology double major from Needham, Massachusetts⠀ ⠀ ➡️ Swipe for a video message from Rachel and her sweet pupper named Pepper! “Hi, everyone! I’m Rachel Goodman and I’m coming to you from Needham, Massachusetts, with my good boy, Pepper. I hope everyone is staying safe, healthy, and practicing social distancing. I know I’ve gone through the big list of important activities. I have watched ‘Tiger King,’ I cleaned my closet, I re-downloaded the House Party app, but I’m starting to run out of some ideas, so if you have any quintessential quarantine activities, please let me know. Just a message to my fellow seniors: I’m thinking of you right now. It is a tough time, it is weird. I am feeling it, too. But let’s continue to hang in there, check in on each other, and support each other through this. So, in the meantime, please stay safe, stay home, and wash your hands.”

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Class of 2020, we see you. ⠀ ⠀ In the weeks leading up to the conferral of their degrees, we meet members of this year’s graduating class to hear how they’re doing. #UR2020⠀ ⠀ “I’m currently at home with my brother and parents. It’s been nice to spend time with my brother, and I have really been enjoying my mom’s delicious home cooked South Indian food. I’ve finally gotten back to reading for pleasure, something that I couldn’t do in college. Since leaving the River Campus I’ve found myself missing unexpected things. I miss the trees on the Academic Quad, and the view of the clocktower from the Douggie steps. Some things I knew I’d miss, like studying with people in Rush Rhees, or those random run-ins with friends around campus. Remote learning has been interesting. The freedom to watch lectures whenever I want has been nice, but I’ve found that lab classes are difficult to transmit virtually. These past several weeks I’ve been adjusting to our new reality. I’ve realized that, moving forward, it’s up to each person to find the motivation and drive to help others who are affected by the COVID-19 crisis and create the best possible future after this pandemic. I know that the Class of 2020 is up to the task. I’ve spent four years learning how amazing they are.”⠀ ⠀ Vennela Pandaraboyina ’20 (@vennela98) is a cell and developmental biology major from Acton, Massachusetts⠀ ⠀ ⬅️ Swipe to see Vennela enjoying one of her favorite remote learning activities.

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THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING: For the last four years, Jamal Holtz ’20 has called Rochester his home, and from the moment he set foot on campus, he knew he wanted to make an impact here. “I always said, when I step onto any community,” says Holtz, who was elected to serve as Students’ Association president in his senior year. “I make it a community that I live in, not a community that I just come for four years and leave.” </p<

 

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Class of 2020, we see you. ⠀ ⠀ In the weeks leading up to the conferral of their degrees, we meet members of this year’s graduating class to hear how they’re doing. #UR2020⠀ ⠀ “Looking back on my time at the University of Rochester, I’m filled with love and gratitude for the incredible people and memories I have made through being on the women’s lacrosse team. This team brought me everything, from teaching me to work hard and to never give up, to bringing me my best friends. There was never a dull moment on this team, and in particular, this year we really would had something special. I can’t put into words how incredibly grateful I am to have been able to spend the amount of time that I did with this specific group of women; they have helped me grow not only as an athlete, but as a person and that is a credit to each and every person on this team. The fact that the other seniors and I did not have this sport and team to come back to is heartbreaking. There was so much left to accomplish this season, so many laughs to be had, bus rides to take, blue/gold challenges to win. But I am so grateful for the times we did have, and I would not change a thing about these last three and a half years; I know I will always have a family with these people and I cannot wait to see what they achieve in the years to come. “⠀ ⠀ Maggie McKenna ’20 (@mags_mckenna) is a financial economics and mathematics double major from Brighton

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Class of 2020, we see you. ⠀ ⠀ In the weeks leading up to the conferral of their degrees, we meet members of this year’s graduating class to hear how they’re doing. #UR2020⠀ ⠀ “Since the abrupt end of my final semester on campus, I’ve been home in Chicago completing the rest of my coursework. The biggest benefit that I’ve gotten from being home are the nightly meals my mom prepares, and the quick access I have to talk and laugh with my 16-year-old brother. The biggest challenges have been having the self-discipline to focus in class and not open additional tabs on my laptop while my professor speaks. It can be easy to get relaxed with online classes, so I’ve been taking extra measures to stay on my toes. What’s helped me most with focusing has been playing library white noise to drown out any distractions in my home. This has been the best option for me to feel isolated, and ultimately zone out. As a graduating senior, the biggest takeaway has been to take everything at face value, and to always put in what you want to get out. Rochester indubitably prepared me for the real world and has definitely sharpened my work ethic and who I am as a person. Though it’s disappointing knowing my senior year won’t end the way I hoped, I have a great sense of closure knowing that the relationships I built will last for years to come.”⠀ ⠀ ➡️Swipe for more words of wisdom from Eugene➡️⠀ ⠀ —Eugene Nichols III ’20 (@ginonichols) is a communications and social advocacy major from Chicago, Illinois

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MOVE-IN DAY: Four year ago, the Class of 2020 arrived at the University—ready to move in, get started, and make their mark. As we celebrate all that they’ve accomplished, let’s enjoy this look back on their first day as Yellowjackets so we can appreciate how far they’ve come.

 

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Class of 2020, we see you. ⠀ ⠀ In the weeks leading up to the conferral of their degrees, we meet members of this year’s graduating class to hear how they’re doing. #UR2020⠀ ⠀ “Remote learning has been a really odd adjustment to make. I’ve taken over my parents’ dining room table and pretty much made it my own office. I’m just trying to make it through these last few days and find time to get outside and stay active. Of all my college experiences, those related to being a member of Rochester’s track and field program easily represent some of my most meaningful and defining ones. That’s what made it so bittersweet when my time as an athlete came to an abrupt end in March. While I fully understand the need for the social distancing measures required to contain COVID-19, it will always sadden me that I missed out on some of those pivotal moments and memories with this truly special team. My first year, I tore my ACL early during the indoor season. At the time, I was afraid that along with losing the rest of the year, I had lost the opportunity to join the team culture. Instead, I was met with so much support from my teammates and coaches and ultimately made some of the friendships I hope to carry with me long after college. Being able to come back and represent the team at championship and national meets and trying to push myself to lead by example has been a tremendous privilege for me. I am so proud to have been a member of this team.”⠀ ⠀ ➡️Swipe to see how Lonnie continues her track and field workouts from home ➡️⠀ ⠀ —Lonnie Garrett ’20 (@lonnie_garrett)⠀ Chemical engineering major from Columbia, Maryland⠀

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More from the Class of 2020

video still says CONGRATULATIONS GRADUATESMedical students graduate early to join pandemic fight
“Students in the School of Medicine and Dentistry’s MD Class of 2020 graduated early to help fight the COVID-19 health crisis.
three students in team tshirtsEngineering students share their capstone projects
Design Day at the Hajim School of Engineering—an annual showcase of graduating students’ capstone projects—has gone virtual this year, with 82 design projects from all of the school’s departments and programs.
black and white illustration.
Senior art exhibitions

The Department of Art and Art History presents the 2020 Senior Thesis Virtual Exhibitions, exploring a range of mediums and subject matters.

 

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Class of 2020, we see you. ⠀ ⠀ In the weeks leading up to the conferral of their degrees, we meet members of this year’s graduating class to hear how they’re doing. #UR2020⠀ ⠀ “Transitioning to life at home has been quite the adjustment. I’m used to spending many hours a day in a silent library and now I’m in upstate New York with my two very cute, but not so very quiet puppies! My mom and brother are also here, and we are all healthy, so I feel very blessed. At first, I was able to spend my extra free time hiking, but now most trails are closed. So, I’ve resorted to painting scenes from my favorite hikes instead! Here’s a painting I’m working on right now of Lake Road in Keene Valley. Finding motivation to finish my senior spring semester online has certainly been a challenge. Plus, I’m an extreme extrovert, so I miss being around lots of people! My friends and I hold weekly Zooms to stay connected and we usually end up laughing for about three hours each time. I’m looking forward to being able to hug all my friends and family again. Stay safe and healthy everyone!”⠀ ⠀ ➡️Swipe ➡️to see Amanda’s video: “I took at an awesome hike in northern Lake George right before many trails got closed. I went with my friend Lauren. We drove separately and hiked 10 feet apart the whole time. Super views!!”⠀ ⠀ —Amanda Guido ’20 (@amandaguidoo)⠀ Molecular genetics major from Lake George, New York

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More from the Class of 2020

Rush Rhees Language rendered in Minecraft bricksHow to make a virtual River Campus, one Minecraft cube at a time
A team of Rochester undergraduates is creating a virtual version of campus to go along with the virtual learning that’s under way through online courses.
Daniel SavageA Rochester first
Daniel Savage is the first student at the University to earn both a medical degree and a PhD in optics.
Jordan Ratzlaff
Graduate student keeps the food pantry running smoothly

Warner School of Education graduate student Jordan Ratzlaff has been named this year’s Graduate Student Employee of the Year for her work as the coordinator of the Wilson Commons Food Pantry, while pursing her master’s degree in higher education.

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Category: Student Life