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A Virtual End and Farewell to the 2019-2020 Academic Year

May 6, 2020

By Sydney Glass and Austin A. Deray

For starters, we want to give each of you a virtual round of applause as you have truly shown your commitment to your graduate education and resilience throughout this period of stay-at-home orders, online learning, and living and working from home. I am sure that none of us could have ever imagined that this would be our new reality, so we really do commend you for pushing through despite the many challenges. While the academic year is ending, the effects of this pandemic will likely be felt for quite some time. Thus, we want to remind all of you that it is okay to feel and take time to process the roller coaster of emotions that have come with these experiences. If you need additional support, do not hesitate to reach out to the available resources offered by Mason, which can be found in the last blog post. And you can always find out the latest about University services and operations at the University COVID-19 website.

From Austin: Writing from Coastal Georgia at my parent’s house, I can honestly say I did not plan to work, complete and present my dissertation proposal (waiting to hear back as I write), and be living at home with my sister (home from NYC) for the first time since we were in our teens. This new normal has established a new rhythm in my life, as my writing groups and friend meet-ups have moved digital. It has been a pleasure to write and chat with you this year, discussing academic and professional experiences, goals, and helpful hints for graduate and professional students. I have been an editor of this blog off and on for the last four years, and I can say I have learned a lot and am ecstatic to finally be a PhD candidate. It is simultaneously a happy and sad moment in my life, for even though I’m proud of how we have found the strength to transition into this virtual world, I also have to face a time I have been dreading: saying goodbye (professionally) to my friend, colleague, and co-editor, Sydney Glass. Syd, it’s been a great two years, and you will be sorely missed.

From Sydney: Sitting here writing this blog is a bittersweet moment as this is the last one that I will have the opportunity to contribute to as a member of the Mason Grad Insider team. For the last two years, I have enjoyed writing for and sharing my thoughts and tidbits of advice with the graduate and professional community at Mason. This platform has allowed me to connect with you all more and provided a space dedicated to bettering our academic and professional lives and general well-being. I will be graduating with my Master’s in Public Health this May and preparing to enter the career world. Although my time at Mason is coming to an end, I will take with me the Mason spirit and the memories that my experience in Graduate Student Life and as a student has afforded me. To everyone continuing their academic studies, I wish you the absolute best! And to those of you graduating this semester, while we will not physically be together on commencement, know that I will be doing a virtual toss of my cap right along with you!

We want to wish everyone the best of luck on your final assignments and projects and a successful end to the academic year. Congratulations to everyone graduating with their master’s and doctoral degrees! To those of you continuing, I (Austin) look forward to speaking with you again with a new co-editor next year.


Sydney and Austin

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