MEQUON, Wis. - Spring graduation is leaving many local universities with a choice: Hold them in-person or keep it virtual.
From the crowd, It looks like a typical spring graduation.
But a closer look reveals COVID is still with us, even during life’s important milestones.
Dr. Margaret Rios
26-year-old Margaret Rios accepted her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Concordia University Friday. COVID was only one small hurdle on her journey to this stage.
"Very little sleep involved. Lots of classes," she said.
This mother of two spent eight years hitting the books, working internships and part-time jobs while taking care of her kids and packing every single weekend to get her diploma.
"I wanted to quit lots of times," Rios said. "I knew I couldn’t. That wasn’t an option for me."
She’s also 31 weeks pregnant, but she says she wanted to show her family – especially her 6-year-old daughter – she could do it.
"I hope she looks back on this one day and I hope I can show my other kids too where resilience and determination can get you," she said.
Leaders at the university were also determined to pull off this ceremony. This spring, 900 graduates are spread out into smaller groups.
Guests are limited and chairs are spread apart. Masks are required at all times. The event also live-streamed and much to the audience's appreciation kept at just under an hour. The changes can be overlooked by Rios.
"I’m very fortunate to do this in person," she said
Who now faces a well-deserved change after all that hard work.
Rios says Sunday will be her first day off in years. Sunday, of course, Mother's Day.
Then she'll start work at Walgreens as a grad intern where she will be giving the COVID vaccine.