‘It’s been a long time coming’: UMass Amherst students graduate at McGuirk Stadium
AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - UMass Amherst marked its 153rd commencement ceremony on Friday morning. We hear from many in the class of 2023 about what’s next.
“I feel very relieved,” said Colby Lane. “I mean it’s been a long time coming, but I feel like it went by really quickly.”
UMass Amherst students officially crossed the stage on Friday morning and became graduates of the class of 2023 with about 25,000 people cheering them on in the stands at McGuirk Stadium on campus.
While college comes with academic challenges, this class is one of the few that faced the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the graduates told Western Mass News how they made it through the pandemic years.
“I got kicked out of my freshman dorm in March and then until the next fall, we were online,” said Harold Blackman.
“It was a very isolated time, everything was shut down so that was difficult especially when you’re studying epidemiology, during the pandemic, in the heart of a crisis,” said Etienne Holder.
Now that these students have moved their tassels across their caps, we asked them what’s next after they received their degree. Some are hitting the job search or staying in school while others have jobs right after graduating.
“I’ll be starting a post-doc position at Boston University, working with the black women’s health study,” said Holder.
“I’m in the interview process right now,” said Lucas Barreto. “I’m hopeful and hopefully I’ll get a job soon.”
“I’m doing grad school here,” said Blackman. “I’m also student teaching down in Springfield. I’m doing the 180 days in Springfield program.”
While the day for these graduates is a pomp and circumstance filled celebration, some are taking on campus memories with them as they transition into post grads.
“Just the campus itself going out and hanging out outside hanging out with people,” said Lane.
“The support I had at the school of public health, I’m going to miss feeling that family unit,” said Holder.
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