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‘They’re Ruining It For Us’: Here’s What University Graduates Have To Say About Tent Graduation Ceremony

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University of Malta graduates are currently gearing up for their graduation ceremonies, set to be taking place over the coming months.

But students are finding themselves forgotten and completely thrown to the side by the Health Authorities, who have decided to permit 500 people sitting events, but not a normal graduation that doesn’t involve “COVID-19 tents”.

Some classes already had to endure setting up their degree exhibition in a “COVID-19 tent” earlier this year. Now, all graduates are to graduate in a tent, while their three allowed guests watch a live stream of the ceremony from another tent nearby.

Makes sense, right?

Lovin Malta spoke to a few University graduates that will be graduating amidst these bizarre regulations and rules, to get their reaction. 

“Parties are being allowed, so what’s the deal with placing guests within the same venue?” one lamented.

Some students described the regulations in place as “embarrassing,” “bullshit,” “ridiculous,” “stupid,” “sad,” and “pathetic” among other things.

“My mum is vulnerable, having her stuck in a tent with random people makes absolutely zero sense,” a Law graduate told Lovin Malta. 

“So seated events of 500 people can take place, but parents can’t even watch their kids graduate,” one student said.

“If the graduation hall isn’t large enough to accompany both students and guests, then the ceremony should be split over a number of days, or different time slots, according to their department and programme. We’re vaccinated for a reason, and not allowing our guests to accompany us in the same hall for our graduation defeats the purpose,” another student said.

Some foreign students have their family members flying abroad from another country to come to watch them graduate, but it turns out they will only be watching the live stream. 

“After a year-long delay of my graduation, I was super excited to finally celebrate getting my university degree abroad with my close family. Now that it turns out I would have my parents fly to Malta, just for them to sit in a plastic “COVID-19 tent” and watch me graduate on-screen, I’m starting to wonder what the point is,” a BA communications graduate told us.

Another woman that got in touch with us was a family member of one of the graduates, who is currently living abroad and is planning to come down for the ceremony.

“My sister asked me to fly out to Malta for her ceremony. I can’t believe I can’t even clap for my sister graduating, because we wouldn’t even be in the same room. It makes zero sense for me to fly over to Malta to watch a live stream in a tent close to the actual ceremony,” she stressed. 

Her sister ended up telling her to not even “bother coming, there’s no point if you’re going to end up sitting in a tent.”

“They’re making me feel like a joke! They want to give the impression they planned it well but this is rubbish,” said another graduate from the Faculty of Education. 

Others were more accepting of the situation, saying that this is better than having no graduation ceremony at all.

“It’s lame because other big events can happen, but definitely better than no graduation at all,” said another.

“It’s not the ideal situation, but still glad at least that it’s happening,” a Nursing graduate said.

And if all of this is being done to make sure contact is minimised, aren’t most of the graduates going back home to their parents after the ceremony?

It’s time for the Health Authorities to take a moment and think about these regulations that they’re coming up with. At this point, they’re doing more harm than good.

What do you make of this? 

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's either shooting film or out at sea. She's passionate about society and the culture that made her. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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