Owning Their Xtra Special Graduation
Four Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduates of 2020 share with Jojo Tung how they celebrated their memories, moments and milestones.
People Editor of HYPE Issue #51
July 7, 2020
With unwavering optimism and some creativity, the class of 2020 of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) reclaimed what Covid-19 took from them: a once-in-a-lifetime virtual graduation ceremony.
Max Lim: A Celebration For One
“Graduating is a huge milestone and the absence of a ceremony should not take away any value from it,” said Max Lim, 20, who graduated with a Diploma in Business Studies from the School of Business & Accountancy. “I definitely still felt triumphant when my graduation certificate was emailed to me.”
Max marked his milestone with a personal celebration, rewarding himself with his favourite food and a film camera he had been eyeing for a long time.
To ensure his graduation post stood out, Max pieced together over 150 pictures of him and his classmates, friends and project groups. Photo courtesy of Max Lim.
For his “mandatory Instagram graduation post”, he compiled pictures from his polytechnic days into a mosaic portrait and explained that it “represented all the moments that lead up to where [he is] now”.
Anthea Chng: A Homemade Graduation
Some pursued a bigger celebration and hosted their own ceremony.
Having grown up watching High School Musical, Anthea Chng, 20, who graduated with a Diploma in Child Psychology & Early Education from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, had always envisioned herself donning the gown and cap.
To fulfil that dream, Anthea and her friends filmed their own graduation ceremony at home, using NP’s Instagram filter. They drafted the storyboard, planned the flow, and even designed their own “fake diploma certificates”.
“We even got one of our friend’s sisters to play the role of the lecturer, kind of like a parody of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Covid-19 speech with his red tie, drinking out of the iconic blue cup,” Anthea said.
The two-minute video, uploaded on Anthea’s Instagram, has received over 2,400 views and was featured on NP’s Instagram story. Photo courtesy of Anthea Chng.
The video gave each graduate a moment of glory, as they took turns to receive their certificate.
Anthea felt her cohort “was rather sporting” about the cancellation. “It turned into an opportunity for everyone to express their polytechnic experience in various ways,” she said.
Yejin Jang: A Video Game Get-together
For any celebration, Yejin Jang, 20, would usually visit her favourite restaurant with her family or do something special with her friends. “This time around, I’m living alone and under the current circumstances, it’s difficult to celebrate with people,” said the foreign student, whose family flew back to South Korea in 2018.
Graduating with a Diploma in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from the School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology, Yejin took to the virtual world of Animal Crossing: New Horizons to meet her friends.
Yejin recreated a graduation ceremony on Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a small surprise for her friends. Photos courtesy of Yejin Jang.
“We role-played with one person as the emcee and recreated the scenes where they would announce your name, we would walk down the stage to receive the certificate, and then return to our seats,” Yejin said.
With a meticulous attention to detail, it took her a whole week to set up the in-game ceremony. She customised all the props to fit the theme, replicating gowns with pixel art and recreating yearbooks and certificates.
“I used the edge of the land where there is a slight level difference with the sea to recreate the stage, as the game does not offer such features directly,” she said.
Arisa Lim: Reaching a Class Journey’s End
Another virtual ceremony was conducted over a video conference app, Zoom, by a graduating Advertising & Public Relations class from the School of Film & Media Studies. Organised by two classmates, the two-hour call was packed with activities to commemorate the milestone.
It commenced with an amusing Kahoot Quiz, reminiscing the iconic moments in their three years as classmates.
“It gave me the opportunity to look back and embrace the memories, be it good or bad,” said a classmate Arisa Lim, 20. “None of us had much time to pause and appreciate [them] because of the worsening Covid-19 situation.”
It gave me the opportunity to look back and embrace the memories, be it good or bad. None of us had much time to pause and appreciate [them] because of the worsening Covid-19 situation.
In the midst of their laughter-filled quiz, their guest of honour, course lecturer Mr Najib Ahmad, joined the call. He was invited to deliver a speech, and even dedicated a poem to his graduating students.
“Amongst all the lecturers that taught us, he was one of the closest to us,” she said. “Our class felt like we were special, because no other virtual graduation had their lecturer join them in the joyous occasion.”
The virtual graduation ceremony to wrap up their polytechnic journey was held on May 12, 2020, the same day as their supposed graduation. Photo courtesy of Arisa Lim (bottom right).
The speech was followed by a prize presentation, where each graduate was presented a special certificate. Arisa was awarded the ‘Certificate of Independence’ but was “too embarrassed” in that moment to read out the speech she had prepared beforehand. She later dedicated a lengthy post on her Instagram, thanking each classmate for what each had taught her along the way.
The class sang along to the ‘Graduation Song’ for the last activity, as both their polytechnic journey and virtual ceremony reached a heart-warming end.
“Although we do not have a physical ceremony, our class of 2020 is an unforgettable memory that I will tell my children about in the future,” Arisa said.
Although we do not have a physical ceremony, our class of 2020 is an unforgettable memory that I will tell my children about in the future.