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Pandemic causing some college graduates to put their futures on hold

Some New Jersey college students will have to put their futures on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.

News 12 Staff

May 19, 2020, 1:03 AM

Updated 1,519 days ago


For Alessandra Puglisi, art is a language all on its own.
Puglisi came to the United States from Sicily when she was only 11 years old. Unable to speak English, she began to draw to communicate. She is now graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in Fine Arts. She will be the first of her family to graduate from college.
“It’s been five years. It’s been a long road and I was really looking forward to having a ceremony to say, ‘This is the end of it,’” Puglisi says.
But Puglisi, like thousands of college students in New Jersey, will not have a traditional commencement ceremony. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused colleges across the country to hold virtual graduation ceremonies.
Just as Rutgers was about to shut down on-campus classes, Puglisi – a sculptor and painter – says that she rushed to finish her senior thesis. The thesis is called “Offerings” and it combines symbols of her native Italy with American culture.
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The pandemic will also delay Puglisi’s next dream of becoming an art professor. She says that she is putting off going to graduate school while she makes sure that the colleges she is considering can resume on-campus education.
“I had supportive professors and I think there is something magic that happens when you see a person develop,” she says.
Puglisi says that for now, her artwork continues at her home in Hunterdon County.
Rutgers will hold its virtual commencement on May 31.

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