Students prepare for Commencement 2024

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

Commencement 2024

A 'bittersweet' countdown

Twenty-four hours before Thursday's Commencement ceremony—a first for many seniors who graduated from high school during the height of COVID—we share a sampling of reflections from the Class of 2024

As their final days on campus wind down before Commencement, seniors have been joyous and introspective, nostalgic and a bit mystified—after all, most of them have no idea what to expect from a graduation since they didn't get one from high school. We share a sampling of their reflections from a sunny morning on Keyser Quad.

"For us, there are no expectations; we have no idea if it's going to be boring or fun. We have that openmindedness, but also it could go in any direction. This just feels like something new."—Julian Madrigal

"The anticipation for the actual ceremony has been kind of non-existent just because there was not really a ceremony for high school, so it feels the same leading up to it. But it has been really nice to have more actual celebrations with friends. There was a lot more closure in that sense."—Sophia Geary

"It's nice to be able to embrace the bittersweetness of graduation, which is both devastating but also really exciting and a really happy time. We didn't get to have that before; it was just 'you're done.' So now being able to take the time to really embrace all the people we love, and celebrate with them, and enjoy some special moments with them—and definitely not the last moments!— has been really wonderful."—Allison Lorentz

"I'm really excited to graduate because we didn't get to have proper goodbyes and say goodbye to our friends and have a moment where we actually get to celebrate ourselves, so it's very exciting to finally get the opportunity."—Ikshu Pandey

"I'm really excited—and I know my parents are really excited—to actually watch me graduate, because our high school graduation was just the students."—Alex DiNovi

"Speaking to a lot of people, I think we're all really excited, but I don't think any of us are really ready to leave yet. I don't know anybody who's like, 'Oh, I'm so excited to get out of here.' I think for most people, it's a bittersweet thing. I guess that just comes with the territory."—John Carbo

"High school graduation was really different in that you're ready to get out of your parents' house, ready to start new a step in your career and stuff, but college is like, you've lived with these people, and you've shared meals, and really built a community in college, and it's really sad to leave. I've been thinking a lot about how I'm going to live without my roommates, and how I'm going to be more than a 10-minute walk from my friends, so it's been really bittersweet."—Emily Yao