As many other students around the country feel, this is not how I expected my senior year of college to go.
This month, I was supposed to walk the stage from California State University, Dominguez Hills with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on journalism. I said goodbye to my friends, mentors, and school way too soon.
Yes, it’s incredibly hard to come to terms with the fact that you didn’t get to “properly” celebrate your senior year of college, but you know what you do have? Your health.
Over the past few weeks, people have taken to the streets to protest the coronavirus lockdown. When I heard of this, I couldn’t believe it. How could someone protest something that is protecting them from a deadly virus? The protestors claimed that the lockdown was interrupting their way of life and hurting their economy.
All are valid points of course. For me, I wasn’t able to celebrate the fact that I am the first person in my family to graduate college. My parents will not see me cross the stage and see that their sacrifices were all worth it.
I had plans to attend two graduation ceremonies, one with my major department and the “Dolores Huerta Graduation Ceremony,” a Latinx ceremony that would include mariachi, folklore, and Aztec dancers. I was looking forward to this ceremony because I wanted to bring my parents’ culture as close to them as possible and make them feel that this accomplishment is mine just as much as it is theirs. I wanted to celebrate my accomplishments as much as I could, and now I’m not celebrating at all.
But my commencements are only postponed. They can happen by the end of the year or next year. I’ll get to experience them one day, just like everyone will one day resume to their “normal” lives. The parks, the beaches, and everything else you feel you’re missing out on will still be there once it is safe to lift restrictions.
Stay At Home
If you and your family have followed the stay-at-home orders and you’re healthy, the lockdown is working. The United States counts over 2,000 deaths every day, and we are helping to flatten the curve by staying home.
Meanwhile, college students like myself have to make the best of the situation and try to figure out our lives after we graduate. This quarantine lifestyle isn’t new to me as a Latina with strict parents, so I’m used to staying home and trying to find ways to be productive. One of the things I’ve been doing is applying for jobs.
This process has been challenging. There aren’t many journalism jobs on the market and the ones I applied for after California’s stay-at-home order was enforced have been since suspended. I knew looking for my first job was going to be difficult. As a first-generation college student, I have to figure everything out on my own. And jobs canceling positions makes the process harder.
Coronavirus dramatically changed college for over 14 million students.
From canceled commencement ceremonies to job market uncertainty, here's how these closures have affected students and professors across the United States: https://t.co/QwbHHVSZMK pic.twitter.com/s1oGQlPs44
— CNBC Make It (@CNBCMakeIt) April 13, 2020
Not to add that graduating college seniors will be entering the worst job market since the 2008 financial crisis, but just like the economy managed to build itself up again, it will do so again after this pandemic. If you’re like me, continue looking for jobs, but remember that your health should also be a priority.
In the famous words of Kourtney Kardashian when Kim K. started crying when she lost her diamond earrings in the ocean, “There are people that are dying.” One day, our lives will go back to some resemblance of normalcy, but for now, you can help those in need by donating to food banks and donating blood and masks to hospitals. And most of all, you can help by staying home.
DISCLAIMER! The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The College Post.