Worth the wait: Senior class perseveres through COVID-19 to graduation

Gwen Henry | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

After drive-thru high school graduations, less than usual freshman years and four years filled with world issues that sparked student protests, the class of 2024 is finally getting the normal graduation it has been waiting for.

Look, everyone’s college journey is different, but it’s safe to say each member of the graduating class has a one-up saved in their back pocket for the “when I was a college student” conversations that pop up during family and work outings. On a more serious note, there is reason to celebrate, because the class of 2024 overcame unique hurdles to finally walk the stage.

In a world where Generation Z is seen as less prepared for the “real world,” overcoming COVID-19 should be a feather in the hat that shows this graduating class can, and has, taken the punches. The challenging road came with rises in mental health issues related to lockdowns, antisocial behavior, insecurities and even substance abuse.

All that to say, when Lariat headlines read “Double masking not being considered as a requirement on campus” and “Officials say McLennan County unlikely to shelter in place,” a viewer without datelines would suspect the world shut down. And it did.

However, throughout the class of 2024’s stay in Waco, some pretty remarkable things happened. Baylor men’s basketball made history by winning its first national title on April 5, 2021. Baylor football stormed its way to a Big 12 title and a Sugar Bowl victory.

Outside of sports, students were able to vote for the first time in the 2020 election and found ways to engage with each other on a less than normal election night. Years after the election, students openly shared their opinions on the overturning of Roe v. Wade, which provided an opportunity for debate and connection across campus.

Hey, even looking back on the crazy winter freeze of 2022 that historically splattered campus with electricity issues brings back memories. How many other times can you remember missing school for a week? Oh, wait, more than a few times, because of the pandemic that started it all.

Needless to say, the path has been rocky, but the rewards are well worth it. Cheers to the class of 2024!