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ANU’s ‘COVID class’ finally celebrates graduation

In 2020, Paige Davies juggled a criminology degree, a science degree (with a major in psychology and a minor in biological anthropology), fulltime work as a project manager and being a member of the ‘COVID’ class.

At the end of her five years of study at ANU, the 23-year-old from the NSW Central Coast couldn’t take part in any official celebrations.

“It was a bit strange,” Paige said. “Covid took away that finishing feeling.

“There was no closure, no end of chapter.

“You know, the end of high school is a big day. There was none of that.”

Today, 8 February, Paige gets a chance to right that wrong – albeit in an altered COVID-safe fashion – with the ANU’s first graduation event since 2019.

In 2020, Paige Davies juggled a criminology degree, a science degree (with a major in psychology and a minor in biological anthropology), fulltime work as a project manager and COVID-19.
In 2020, Paige Davies juggled a criminology degree, a science degree (with a major in psychology and a minor in biological anthropology), fulltime work as a project manager and COVID-19.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 1,722 ANU students graduated in absentia in July 2020 and 4,378 in December.

With a combination of in-person and virtual celebrations, linking the ANU Village with live-crosses to receptions in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Shanghai and Beijing, today’s event celebrates their achievement of completing their studies in the middle of a global pandemic.

Despite the ‘grand graduation’ missing a couple of traditional elements, importantly it’s given students like Paige a reflection point.

During the pandemic, Paige fought through losing her fulltime job as a venue manager and found a silver lining with the flexibility it brought to her final year of studies.

“I picked myself up and got on with it,” Paige said.

“Now I feel done. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’ve finished two degrees and completed five years of really hard work.”

Paige is now reflecting upon her five years of good memories and preparing to transition to a post-university lifestyle that she hopes will take her to the UK or to Melbourne, with her time in ‘COVID class’ finally behind her.

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