JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – New graduates of East Tennessee State University are closing one chapter and entering a brand new one.

The past four years were anything but normal, but the students were able to overcome and get their degrees.

“All of the finals weeks, all of the studying and all of that,” 2022 graduate John Deems said.

Over 2,000 graduate and undergraduate students made the trip across the stage during two ceremonies.

“I’m like extremely excited and nervous and just a lot of emotions going on right now,” 2022 graduate Summer Wilson said.

Now that the graduates have turned their tassels, they’re ready to change the world as teachers, therapists and more.

“I’m an out-of-state student from Maryland,” Deems said. “I didn’t know what to expect and these past four years have been amazing. It feels like just yesterday I was entering this place, and now, I’m leaving it.”

New graduate Anthony Salas said it’s a moment he’ll appreciate and remember forever, especially after half of his experience was spent online due to COVID-19.

“To have an in-person ceremony is really special to be able to have everyone that can not only come and see you walk across the stage and you know hit that moment that you’ve been waiting on for so long,” Salas said.

Salas will be moving to Connecticut to work at ESPN. Several of his peers said they have jobs already lined up as well, or plan to attend graduate school at ETSU.

“We came through it together and that’s something that’s really special,” Salas said.