2020 grads say goodbye to Queen’s

Students share a final message to the University following Coronavirus shutdown

The class of 2020 may be missing some milestones, but they aren't missing spirit.

In light of the spread of Coronavirus cutting this semester short, The Journal put out a call to students graduating in 2020, asking them to submit a final message to Queen’s. Though the end to this school year (and some people’s whole Queen’s experience) has been abrupt, we hope these notes help to give you a sense of closure, whether this is your first or your fourth year here.   


“Class of 2020,

How am I supposed to say goodbye to you?

I’ve loved you from the moment I arrived in 2016. 

This was a time when our biggest issues included paying $20 through the Tilt app for a mediocre house party only to get rejected at the door, deciding whether or not to leave during Vic Hall’s thirtieth fire alarm, accepting that we were unnaturally obsessed with the Chainsmokers’ song ‘Closer,’ and trying to convince our parents that just because a girl slapped a horse doesn’t mean we have to switch schools. 

What I wouldn’t give to go back.

We thought we had more time. We didn’t know it was our final class of undergrad when we packed our bags in slow motion five minutes before the professor was done their lecture. We thought we had more time to tell people how much we loved them, and how they saved us when we were at our worst and made the good times better.

We won’t get to say goodbye, and with the heaviest hearts, we won’t get our graduations. 

Time was stolen from us, but not one single thing on this planet can take away the time we’ve shared and the lifelong bonds we’ve created over these past four years.

Class of 2020, when everyone is safe, and the world is healthy, we will meet again. When we do, I expect ‘Closer’ to be blasting through every speaker.” 

Haley Marando


“Looking back on my time at Queen’s, it’s impossible to decide on a single favourite memory. One of my favourite nights was a party my housemates and I threw this past September. It ended up being the biggest party we’ve ever had. Our house was packed wall to wall, and it was really nice to see how many people we’ve gotten to know during the course of our undergrad. There’s also the time I got to play in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade with Queen’s Bands, where it was a ton of fun to represent Queen’s in a different country and see everyone cheering for us in our over-the-top Scottish uniforms. 

Despite my undergrad ending on a strange note with the Coronavirus outbreak, I know I’ve had enough amazing experiences over the last four years to make up for the ones I’m missing out on now. Queen’s became my home, and I made some of the best friends I’ve ever known, fell in love with Kingston, and got to know a whole new side of myself. Thank you, Queen’s, for making my experience everything I could have hoped for.”

Chiara Gottheil


“This was my first picture taken at Queen’s, by my Gael, during Orientation Week. Thank you Queen’s, for everything that has happened since this photo—from the array of clubs I’ve had the chance to be a part of, the nights I’ve spent with friends sharing sangria at QP, the mornings spent studying at CoGro, and many more. Thank you for everything, Queen’s, but most importantly, thank you for the people. Cheers, class of 2020!”

Tanisha Amarakoon


“Nearly four years ago, I was sitting in Grant Hall with my frosh group waiting to get tammed. The whole experience was magical, but when the highland dancers came on, I remember thinking: I want to do that. At the time I had no idea that joining Queen’s Bands and Highland dancing would make such an impact on my university career. I have met some of my best friends through the Band, and I’ve made memories that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. 

My experience at Queen’s has been so special, and I feel so blessed to have spent it with such incredible people. I have found a family within the Band and within Queen’s, and it saddens me that it has come to such an abrupt end. I never truly got a proper goodbye, so I wanted to thank everyone who has made this journey worthwhile. Thank you to the dancers for being there when I needed it, thank you to the Bandsies who brought a smile to my face, and thank you Queen’s for giving me such wonderful opportunities. It’s been lovely.

Love, Cailin.” 

Cailin McNeely


“They don’t tell you when you first arrive at Queen’s how much anguish you’ll feel when saying goodbye to arguably the best living situation of your life. From the moment you first enter residence, you’re constantly surrounded by friends and like-minded individuals that will contribute to four unique years of your life. Then in four short months, they tell you to pick only 3-6 out of hundreds of people you’ve met to live with for the remaining 3 years.

For me, I was fortunate to land with two of my best friends today: Samantha Misner and Ally Mastantuono. We describe ourselves as Cute and Innocent (Ally), Idgaf Attitude (Sam), and Wild (myself) which helps to explain our dynamic trio. Although this relationship definitely experienced its ups and downs, I wanted to say that it’s not a goodbye, but a ‘see you later.’

Get ready, it’s about to get cheesy. Ally and Sam, you’ve given me advice and support, listening ears, shoulders to cry on, five-dollar bills for cover, and wardrobe expertise. You’ve been travel partners, personal editors and chefs, and a second (and sometimes primary) family. I will forever be thankful for the memories we created together, and I’m excited to start a new journey with you by my side, however many kilometres away you are. I love you with all my heart. Thank you!”

Erin Burns 


“Dear class of 2020,

This ending is more bitter than sweet, albeit for a warranted cause. I remember the long road it took for my love of this school to set in. I was counting on reminiscing about my firsts while experiencing my lasts with my friends by my side. I met some incredible people and I learned more about myself than I did about any school subject. I am grateful for 3.99 years at this institution that created a love story between me and Kingston through CoGro study dates, North-of-Princess house parties, pier-jumping, patio-hopping, crying in Stauffer, laughing in Leggett, and dancing at the Underground. 

I have been inspired by my peers and professors on a daily basis to fall more in love with Global Development Studies and to work to better this world. Sophie, Katelyn, Larissa, my 80 Ladies, Sam, Cass, Nat, and many more who gave me memories to hold onto for the rest of my life—there are no words except ‘thank you.’ I cannot wait for us to come home soon.

Cha Gheill!”

—Emily Elliott



“I will never be able to catalogue all the ways that Queen’s has changed me over the years, but I know that being here has made me the person I am today. When I arrived at Queen’s, I had no idea who I was, and the experiences that I’ve had and the people that I’ve met have entirely shaped me into the person I wanted to be when I was 17.

The thing that will stick with me the most is the warmth and trust that I’ve felt from so many people here, from the first moment I arrived at residence to the last moments that I’ll spend in my student house. This university has such a capacity for fostering love. I have never felt the impact of community more than I have at Queen’s. When so many people look to the world with kindness, it’s inevitable that the people around them will start to as well.”

—Pamoda Wijekoon


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