How a Bizarre VR Festival Encapsulated NYU's Awful COVID-19 Response

If New York City weren’t the national epicenter for COVID-19, then on May 19th, graduating New York University students would have thronged to Grad Alley: a pre-graduation tradition of eating, drinking, and watching performances at the NYU campus right off Washington Square Park. I would have been among them. The day after, I was set to graduate from the NYU Game Center’s MFA program in game design. But like a lot of NYU students, I was no longer in New York City. In March, I’d gone back to my home state of Virginia during spring break, then gotten stuck when Virginia went on lockdown. I hadn’t seen my grad cohort in person for two months. From March to May, I developed my solo thesis project in isolation, with only my partner and the robins nesting in the backyard for in-person company.

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For the past few months, I’ve been staying with my sister, who is a graduating senior in college this year as well. I really feel for her because she’s losing the “most fun” time in college as a 2nd semester senior who already has her next step lined up. With how melancholy she’s been, I can’t imagine how frustrated she’d feel if her school came up with this horseshit as their finale.