Last October when Albury's Zoe Russell finished her university course COVID-19 subdued her graduation.
Instead of the traditional formalities and celebrations, Miss Russell and her Charles Sturt University classmates shared a drink online over Zoom before logging off and staying home.
Due to COVID-19 fears and regulations the university was unable to host graduation ceremonies in 2020.
"I think a lot of us were quite upset when we found out we couldn't [have a graduation ceremony]," she said.
"We had some idea it was going to happen, but once it was confirmed it was disappointing. We always said when we do get to graduate we'll all try and come together and do it."
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So this week, about eight months after the class of 2020 graduated, Miss Russell and her Bachelor of Occupational Therapy classmates gathered in Wagga to don caps and gowns and celebrate their achievements together.
Due to COVID-safe requirements, Charles Sturt University only held graduation ceremonies in Bathurst and Wagga but many Border students trekked north to formally celebrate their achievements.
Despite having to travel, Miss Russell said the majority of her class were able to attend the same session.
"I was just excited to see everyone again and see our lecturers," she said.
"I did want to do the gown and cap and have that experience, I'm glad I did.
"I made amazing friends... we have all been looking forward to graduation for so long."
The close-knit graduating class had been through a lot together and supported each other through about ten months of online learning.
"It was super intense," Ms Russell said.
"It was nice to be home in my pyjamas but it was a big change.
"My class was all quite close, we loved being face-to-face and seeing each other so we ended up making a group Snapchat and chat on Facebook... so we stayed linked that way."
Miss Russell, originally from Leeton, is currently employed with Everyday Independence in Albury.
She was the first person in her family to graduate from university.
"My mum and grandma came to the ceremony," she said.
"Mum is obviously very, very proud of me.
"She was with me throughout the whole journey of uni, through the tears and the ups and downs, it feels weird but they're all really proud.
"I feel I got lucky with my class and the university I chose to go to."
Instead of being handed their testamur onstage, students were given a token, their certification having been mailed out last year.
The Wagga campus hosted ceremonies across the week.
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