Congratulations to the 2020 Class of COVID Graduates



Never would I diminish how difficult a year 2020 has been for so many of us. How countless the ways we’ve all been impacted. From overwhelming physical, mental, emotional, and financial struggles to the numerous minor inconveniences and adjustments of what it means to function yet try to remain safe under an invisible threat that we’ve all had to endure, it has not been a picnic.

Last year has been challenging for those who lost someone to COVID, or for anyone who lost anyone to anything as under the pandemic, we also lost the simple need to be close, comfort them and each other, be at that person’s bedside, or come together and honor the deceased in the rich and meaningful ways we would under normal circumstances.

But was it all bad?

Necessity being the mother of creativity and the challenge being the springboard to growth, think of all the ways we’ve grown and changed in this process.

How many people have we become closer to while we sheltered-in-place?

How many new friends have we made with our newly found appreciation for human interaction?

How much technology are we now comfortable with that intimidated us before?

How many terminally put off home, body, or career improvement projects have we finally gotten done because a shortage of time or too many distractions could no longer be an excuse?

How many books have gotten read  — or written?

How many parents have a newfound appreciation for teachers and their child’s educational process?

What have you learned about yourself and your capacity for patience, adaptability, and compassion?

How many of us have slowed down, dug deeper, developed more of an appreciation for the simpler things in life, and gotten more in touch with ourselves?

How many of us rediscovered a tucked away talent or hobby that energizes and fulfills us?

How many of us PURGED (people, places, AND things)???

How many of us said, “You know what? Life IS short!” – and finally acted on it?

Similar to the numerous longstanding social, political, and economic inequities and injustices are now thrown into stark relief, how else has COVID brought about a much needed “reset” in your life?

Well, congratulations, because if you’re still here and you experienced any of the above:


Pop your collar, pat yourself on the back, and walk across the stage, my friend, because you absolutely deserve it. You passed “The COVID Fitness Test” and cosmic “time out.”

Knock on wood, but it doesn’t get much harder for humanity than this. I’m glad you made it; I’m glad you are making it. I’m glad we’re all here to ride this rooster together around the sun one more time and use the lessons we’ve learned and the capacity we’ve built under the grinding weight of COVID to propel us stronger, smarter, wiser, kinder, and more innovative and adaptable than ever this year!

COVID may be hard, but viewed differently, like any strict teacher, doesn’t it mean well?

Happy New Year.

Submitted by Guest Writer Ramone Giles
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of AUCD’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Ramone Giles is a Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist (not SGI) and Career & LifeTraining Consultant & Coach in the Workforce Development subsector of the nonprofit world who lives in Chicago and works internationally via numerous web-based videoconferencing platforms.