East Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– It’s a bittersweet time for graduates as many commencement ceremonies are postponed or in some cases canceled altogether. While Michigan State University couldn’t have a traditional in-person graduation, the school found a way to honor the College of Human Medicine’s Class of 2020 by hosting a virtual ceremony.

“I was very disappointed that we couldn’t have an in-person graduation ceremony, but being able to at least see all of my classmates or a lot of my classmates was what I was really missing the most, so I was glad that I got to see a lot of people even if it was virtually and I’m glad that I have something that I can show to my family since they couldn’t be there in person,” Dr. Chelsea Pote, CHM graduate said.

Saturday afternoon, MSU hosted a virtual ceremony from homes throughout the college’s seven statewide campuses and beyond.

“It’s awesome that they still did something. It’s out of their hands, they did the best they could with it. It still felt special in a different way than obviously any of us were expecting,” Dr. Albert Tamayo, another graduate said.

Tamayo and his classmates were even given an opportunity to come on the event live to give a short speech or say thank you.

“It was cool to see everyone that popped in live, that was definitely my favorite part, but it was kind of bittersweet because it made me miss everyone a little bit more and just wish we were all together,” CHM Graduate Dr. Madeline Hulse said.

The graduates said transitioning from student to resident can already be intimidating
and the pandemic adds a whole other layer.

“It’s a little bit scary because there’s so much that I don’t know what to expect, so it will be very interesting to say the least,” Pote said.

Despite they unknown, these doctors said they’re ready.

“They need help in the hospitals and we’re the help so it’s time for us to step up,” Tamayo said.

Governor Whitmer also shared her thoughts during the ceremony, highlighting the accomplishments of the grads.

“When the history books look back on COVID-19, stories of front line superheroes will be told. You will have made the difference,” the Governor said.

Although these grads can’t celebrate the accomplishment as they planned, they say they’re grateful for everyone who helped them get to this point.

“I’d like to thank my family and friends for all of their support. None of us could have done this without any of their support so it’s not just us going on this journey, it’s all of us,” Tamayo said.

Pote echoed that gratitude, but added that she’s also thankful for MSU’s College of Human Medicine.

“I know this has been really hard for them too. They recognize how difficult it’s been for all of the students and they’ve really put a great effort forward to make our experience at the end of medical school– all throughout medical school the best that it can be,” Pote said.

“CHM does an incredible job of putting us all together and it was such a unique, diverse group of students that also all got along somehow and it was definitely like a little family and I think that’s what’s making all of this being apart for the celebrations part so difficult,” Hulse said.