COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Rain or shine, it didn’t stop many Ohio State University graduates from donning their caps and gowns at the shoe, even if things were looking differently from previous years.

This year, OSU only allowed a total of 13,500 attendees at two ceremonies Sunday in efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Despite the social distancing regulations, limited seats, and not being able to walk on stage, many were just happy to have this moment to share with their loved ones.

One graduate, Victoria Branch, said, if anything, this pandemic taught them all to be resilient.

“We really made the best out of it, especially the student organizations,” she said. “I’ve never seen so much flexibility out of student organizations and student leaderships.”

Branch said it felt a little weird being surrounded by so many people, but she felt safe, especially as OSU has been very strict about their health checks and COVID-19 tests.

“It is a little weird, but I know the majority of people here are getting vaccinated,” Branch said.

Another student, Elvia-Daniela Lozano-Ortiz, thanked OSU for keeping them all healthy, which lead to her finally being reunited with her parents.

“I’m an out-of-state student and I haven’t seen my parents in four years,” Lozano-Ortiz. “Even though it’s raining, it’s really nice to have them here.”

Though it was a challenging year, many students said today’s gathering made it all worth it; and they’re thankful for today as many others didn’t have this same opportunity last year.

For those that couldn’t attend in-person, OSU streamed both ceremonies online for all to watch. This was the first time since 2019 OSU was able to host graduation in-person.