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Grad Photos in the age of COVID-19

Posted on: May 19, 2020 in Student Stories by Michael Mahi

Virtual celebrations, online congratulations, and Zoom family gatherings instead of a big party after the academic milestone is the new graduation normal.

Yet, even in the age of COVID-19, some traditions are still thriving.

Cal State Fullerton students are taking celebratory graduation photos in front of iconic campus backdrops like the Titans letters or the fountain outside Langsdorf Hall.

And, yes, the students practice social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet away from family members or friends taking those priceless grad pics.

Sandy Herrera was on campus, taking her graduation photos with her daughter Leah in front of Langsdorf Hall. She says she is thinking about participating in the virtual celebration in June.

a woman in grad regalia and a young girl smiling
Sandy Herrera and her daughter Leah

“I’m still thinking about it,” she said. “It’s been an interesting semester.”

Gabriela Zammarron, a child and adolescent development major, stood proudly wearing her graduation regalia in front of the Titans letters outside the Titan Student Union.

She said that while she was disappointed, her college education ended with virtual instruction; she stressed to her fellow 2020 classmates to take lessons from this experience.

a woman in grad regalia stading outside near a large letter
Gabriela Zammarron

“Take it all in,” she said. “No matter what, it’s about the experience and getting the most out of it.”

Casey Bracamontes, a cinema and television arts major, and her friend Mariah Gonzalez spent a beautiful spring afternoon taking grad photos on the lawn near the Milton A. Gordon Hall.

Bracamontes said she hopes to get a job in the film industry

a woman smiling
Casey Bracamontes

As they snapped photos of each other, they reflected on their final academic year at CSUF

Bracamontes, a transfer student, said she was just getting used to campus life before going to virtual instruction. She offered a bit of advice for those adapting to the change.

“Make the best of what you have,” she said. “Keep yourself positive; don’t let yourself spiral down and appreciate the people around you.”

Gonzalez, who is a criminal justice major, said going online didn’t phase her.

a woman smiling
Maria Gonzalez

“It has been fairly easy because I have had online classes before,” she said. “It’s been easy to communicate with teachers through Zoom, and it’s easier to participate because I feel comfortable in my own house.”

Bracamontes viewed this as one of life’s lesson.

“Life is going to throw a lot of hard things at you,” she said. “It shows who you are as a person and how you react to those things and how you make the best out of the situation you are in.”

Check out how Titans from the Class of 2020 are sharing on social media. Tag your posts with #CSUFgrad2020 so we can include your celebration.

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    Michael Mahi

    Michael Mahi is the Senior Director of Digital Media.

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