COVID-19 did not have the power to stop 25 pending Wartburg December graduates from receiving their diplomas. But graduating into a global pandemic is an obstacle that people in years past did not have to overcome.

“I have spent a lot of time worrying about how the pandemic has changed, and will continue to change my future,” Sara Martin, fourth-year business administration major, said. “I have also come to realize that it is what it is and that it is important that I focus my energy on things that I can control, like the fact that I am only a few short weeks away from graduating from Wartburg College.”

Graduating college comes with great responsibilities. Unfortunately for some, COVID-19 has not made the job search any easier.

“While I do have a couple of job opportunities after graduation, I might still want to attend graduate school,” Grant Buscherfeld, fourth-year business administration major, said. “COVID-19 has put me in the situation where I need to decide if I should take a guaranteed job now and potentially attend graduate school later, or take a semester off and start graduate school in the fall of 2021. I guess I would say that I am a little nervous about the unknown, but that is what is exciting about life.”

As December commencement is right around the corner for Wartburg students, graduates have several thoughts about ways they wish for this milestone to be different. The graduates may wish to have their parents or grandparents in their audience, but one thing is for certain; they wish to walk across the stage in person to receive their degree. 

“I wish I could shake the hands of my professors in our gowns and put closure on the end of my time as their student,” James Wenman, fourth-year elementary education major, said. “We talk so much about how we’re preparing ourselves to leave college, but we forget sometimes that we step on the shoulders of those that have gone before us. I wish I could acknowledge the sacrifices that our professors made for us to become the Knights that we have morphed into.”

Despite the stress that COVID-19 may bring for some, December graduates said they have been able to reflect on their time at Wartburg and remember the reason why they chose to attend.

“The sense of community and home was the reason I decided to attend Wartburg in the first place,” Martin said. “I felt connected to the campus, and that connection lasted over the course of the three and a half years I attended. That warm feeling of having a home away from home will definitely be what I will miss the most. The unique community will have a permanent place in my heart. I am beyond grateful for my friendships, memories, and lessons learned and regret nothing about my journey at this amazing school.”




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