Farewell to Ewha: Graduating during the pandemic
Farewell to Ewha: Graduating during the pandemic
  • Choi Hye-jung
  • 승인 2022.02.27 21:57
  • 수정 2022.03.13 21:26
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Students enjoy their own graduation ceremonies despite the on-going pandemic. Photo provided by Ji Won-young

On Feb. 28, the February 2022 graduation ceremony took place in the Welch-Ryang Auditorium with only designated attendees due to the pandemic. The entire ceremony was live-streamed on Ewha’s official YouTube channel. Even though the in-person graduation ceremony was not open to every graduate, Ewha students found their own ways to celebrate their graduations.


Han Seung-hee, who graduated from the Department of Psychology this year, kept her graduation celebration rather simple. Celebrating with her family, Han rented a graduation gown to take pictures with her parents on campus. Since South Korea’s daily confirmed COVID-19 cases have surpassed 100,000 and are expected to surge, Han decided not to meet up with her friends to celebrate her graduation.


“Before COVID-19, graduates were allowed to celebrate their graduation with as many people as they wanted,” Han said. “I miss banners celebrating graduation and the bustling of club members assembled to celebrate their seniors’ graduation. Ewha students who have seen the campus during graduation season in the good old days would have felt touched just by witnessing those scenes. Even though I had no acquaintance with any of the graduates, I remember myself wishing them the best luck with all my heart.”


Han also reminisced about attending the graduation chapel in person. According to Han, graduation chapels always ended with a tradition in which students about to graduate stood while others applauded to congratulate them. Han felt sorry for students not having this moment anymore, especially those who have never experienced in-person graduation chapel.


Meanwhile, arranging “graduation snapshots” is a trend that particularly is on the rise amid the pandemic.


As Ewha is known for its beautiful campus, it is a common sight to see graduates in graduation gowns taking pictures throughout the campus. Such was the case for Ji Wonyoung, who graduated from the Division of Communication & Media as a class of 2022 graduate. During her first two years at Ewha, Ji was impressed by the graduates who seemed so confident. From then on, she has always wanted to have charming pictures to commemorate her graduation.


Having an interest in photography, Ji has taken snapshots for three years and interacted with other photographers. Before graduation, Ji wanted to bid farewell to every aspect and scenery of Ewha by taking her graduation pictures. To do so, she collaborated with four different fellow photographers to take her graduation snapshots four times over three months.


Ji Won-young takes a picture on the Ewha campus in autumn. Photo provided by Ji Won-young


“Graduation photos are usually taken in winter as many students graduate then,” Ji said. “Ewha in winter indeed is beautiful, but I especially liked Ewha in the summer when the green campus shines and perfectly matches with the blue sky, and in the autumn, when the campus is colored with warm orange.”


To retain all the aspects of Ewha campus that she loved as pictures, she carried out the snapshot sessions once in summer and three times in autumn. She even had a night shooting at Ewha Garden, which resembles Hogwarts at night. All those efforts and passion that she poured into her graduation pictures derived from her love for her school and her desire to have a final memorable moment in Ewha.


“It was ironic to go to school, where I have not been to for two years due to the pandemic, just to take pictures and commemorate my last memories of Ewha,” Ji concluded. “I decided to consider my graduation a source of momentum to reflect on my life and take a breather before I move on to the bigger world. In the book of my life, graduation is just a comma, not a full-stop.”

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