Portrait shot of Lurana wearing a grad cap

VIU grad spotlight

July 24, 2021
Author: Lys Morton

Meet Lurana McClure Rodriguez

Reprinted with permission from The Discourse

Vancouver Island University (VIU) attracts international students from around the world and from various different climates. For Lurana McClure Rodriguez, who grew up in Puerto Rico, Vancouver Island’s environment felt like the closest home away from home. Wanting to study something design and arts-related, interior design gave her a wide range of opportunities to learn and specialize in. Now, at the end of her degree, Rodriguez finds that her final grades aren’t the greatest achievement.

“As for my degree, while I'm stoked to have made dean's list multiple times and have graduated with a high GPA, my main takeaway has been the diversity of skills I have acquired throughout these four years. The Bachelor of Interior Design is no joke and I've definitely come out the other end feeling prepared to take on the professional world, whatever it may look like now.”

Before VIU was forced to go online, Lurana was working towards growing her online presence when it came to her work and education. 

“Being able to tell myself, 'You've done this before, no reason you can't do it again!' gave me a lot of confidence that I'd be able to handle a year of online school.”

While her parents were unable to travel to Nanaimo to celebrate graduation, Lurana and her friend group organized an outdoor gathering for those friends who were graduating.

“Not everybody could be there because group sizes were limited at the time, but I've found little ways to celebrate with different friends throughout the summer.”

Lurana also knows that a large glass of beer and lots of hugs will be awaiting her in Puerto Rico when she is able to return home.

As for the online graduation ceremony, Lurana continues to see the positive in the alternative ceremony that was provided for the graduating class of 2021. 

“Being able to say that I hung out with my friends, drinking beer and goofing off, during my university graduation ceremony is actually... pretty awesome. I'm just choosing to see all of this in a positive light and I'm hoping the digital infrastructure that's been put into place continues to evolve to accommodate for the students who need it most.”

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