Photo by Laura Soares
My brother, Daniel, and his girlfriend, Priscilla El-Achkar, celebrate his graduation by themselves in front of the Michigan stadium on May 4. If not for Covid-19, they would have celebrated as my brother walked across the stage.
Sitting alongside my mom, my grandparents, and other family friends, I watched as my big brother, Daniel Soares, confidently walked up to the stage. He was grinning as they announced his name. The hair under the graduation cap was neatly styled, and his face was freshly shaven. His entire life was leading up to this moment. As he strutted across the stage, he watched as his girlfriend and I cheer his name. Hundreds of people clapping, he shook a few hands and accepted his diploma. He felt accomplished and appreciated, knowing his loved ones were cheering for him.
The dream-like scenario in my head quickly faded- what was supposed to be his long-awaited graduation ceremony became a normal day, almost unmarked from any other. My brother, a senior at The University of Michigan, was sitting on the couch. His hair was outgrown and disheveled, and there was a visible stubble on his face. One of the things I was most excited for in 2020, seeing my brother accepting his diploma, was no longer a reality.
Unfortunately, millions of students around the world experienced the same disappointment, keeping us in our houses and away from many of our dreams. My brother’s graduation ceremony was one of many things that I missed out on.