A milestone event in life, graduation marks the end of years of hard work and dedication – making the first big step away from education and into the vast world of the unknown.
In normal circumstances, the occasion brings together hundreds of students, families and friends to the Elphinstone Hall for a long-awaited celebration of achievements.
All kitted out in graduation gowns and caps, students would have been impatiently awaiting to hear their names and walk up to the stage to accept their well-deserved degree, cheered on by their proud loved ones.
But for a second summer in row, however, university bosses have been forced to move the event online.
And, while students weren’t able to take photos on the famous campus lawns and uncork bottles of champagne with friends and family, they have been able to gather together virtually from the comfort of their own home.
Dedication, resilience and ‘phenomenal’ performance
As another challenging year rolls out for those coming to the end of their academic journey, graduates were praised for their resilience, dedication and “phenomenal performance”.
Professor Ruth Taylor, vice-principal of education at Aberdeen University, said: “What our students have done in the past year has been absolutely phenomenal and I’m very proud to be a small part of that experience.
“They have been absolutely amazing in being able to manage not only a different way of teaching and learning, but also to deal with everything that was expected of them and excel in it alongside the challenges imposed by Covid.
“Students have not only done the learning that they needed to do for their degrees, but have developed a whole set of skills and attributes because of the way that they’ve had to access their education over the past year.”
Graduates have shown ‘real strength of character’
Throughout the past 18 months, students at the historic north-east institution have had to persevere and adapt time and again to constant changes to succeed in their chosen discipline.
Prof Taylor added: “I am so proud of our students as they have performed incredibly well in so many different ways – and they need to be really proud of themselves.
“They have demonstrated resilience and determination to do what they needed to do to achieve their learning, despite the fact that they were doing it in the middle of a pandemic.
“And I think that that demonstrates real strength of character for individual students or groups of students who have just carried on and fought against the odds.
“I would say a massive congratulations to them all and wish them very well in whatever they choose to do in the future.”