LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Nearly 20,000 USC students celebrated the end of their undergraduate career virtually this week.
USC President Carol Folt kicked off the celebration for the graduates. The event included performances by the school's Trojan Marching Band.
"We're coming together to celebrate and wherever you are in your fine academic robes or your most casual sweats, you're just minutes away from completing your journey," said Folt.
The deans from each school, alumni, and students spoke during the online celebration.
"It's weird. It's pretty surreal to be done with it without actually being there," said graduate Kaitlin Maxwell.
"I have a group chat with my whole class, there's 12 of us. We were just texting each other throughout the ceremony, responding and reacting to things on the screen," said Maxwell.
"Anytime they had a slideshow of pictures from all four years we were texting each other, 'Oh my God I just saw you,'" she said.
Maxwell said they believe USC did the best it could with the circumstances but her family still think about what they missed.
"I'm a hugger, so I'm definitely missing getting to hug all my friends and all my teachers. I miss them a whole lot because I haven't seen them for like 60 days now probably," Maxwell said.
"That whole connection and the interaction with the students and faculty and everybody that had been there for her for the last 4 years was lacking," said Maxwell's mother, Lorna.
Kaitlin said in some ways the celebration brought her closer to her classmates.
USC said it plans on doing an in-person ceremony at some point in the future when it's safe to do so.
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