“There will be something missing”: URI graduate’s family stuck in lockdown in India

KINGSTON, R.I. (WLNE) – Graduation is feeling bittersweet this year for a student from the University of Rhode Island.

Edhaya Thennarasu was born and raised in India. She is one of the commencement speakers at the ceremony, but her family isn’t able to make it as the coronavirus devastates the country.

“It will feel amazing. I feel accomplished, but there will be something missing,” Thennarasu said. “Even though it’s a ceremony of completion, I won’t feel complete.”

Thennarasu is graduating with a major in communications and a double minor in business in digital media and theatre. But, she wasn’t always excited about school. Growing up in India, she thought she’d never make it to graduation.

“I hated my time in school back home,” Thennarasu said. “Right after school I thought I was never going to step foot into any educational institution, let alone university or college.”

But somehow, she found her way to URI and the rest is history. She says her family will be watching the ceremony virtually 13,000 miles away.

While thousands of people are dying from the virus, she says her family is safe and some of them are vaccinated.

“The situation in India is horrible. It’s devastating and people are dying every single day,” Thennarasu said. “My family is fortunately okay, but we know people like my friend’s parents and people who are very close to us who are dying every single day.”

In India, hospitals are filled to the brink and medical oxygen is scarce. Under 2.5% of the population is fully vaccinated.

“I wake up and I’m like, okay, my family is okay,” Thennarasu said. “But, I don’t know if it’s going to be the same thing the next day.”

Through the hardships, she says there’s hope that better days are coming.

“Keep going,” Thennarasu said. “That’s how we got here, that’s how we’re going to go to better places from here and to never give up.”

Graduation at the University of Rhode Island will take place next weekend on May 21st through 23rd.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island