EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — Students who dealt with the pandemic for most of their college lives are putting on the cap and gown. The University of Southern Indiana and the University of Evansville are both holding commencement ceremonies this weekend.

Taegen Garner is a sociology and political science major and is graduating from USI. She says she had one ‘normal’ semester in 2020 before COVID-19 took over.

“You know you go on spring break, and you are all excited for college spring break.” “Then you get an extended vacation that turns into months and months of staying at home,” she says.

While studying at home, Garner says she had several virtual labs.

“Lots of times they would not work, we were having to do these interactive platforms,” she says.

UE students were in the same boat. Shane Ranschaert went back to college in the middle of the pandemic.

“Having to figure out Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and having all of those online classes, it was a weird experience,” he says.

When pandemic regulations were lifted, both campuses had more opportunities for students to get involved.

“There were more activities, more events, more organizations, there was so much more going on — this whole academic year has been so full of events,” says Ranschaert.

“I think that so many students who missed out really took it and ran during their junior and senior year, like I know I was more involved than I ever thought on being during my junior and senior years, and I never would have imagined I would be standing here graduating,” says Gardner.