20 Questions for a 2020 College Grad
The year 2020 has definitely thrown us a large curveball when it comes to living a normal everyday life. A curveball that none of us could have expected...ever. Being in quarantine has given me a lot of time to put things into perspective. Over the course of these 10 weeks (?), I've tried visualizing myself in other people's shoes to comprehend how different individuals are living and coping through this strange time. Millions of humans around the world have been affected by COVID-19. Whether some have had the virus, have lost a friend or family member, have been either furloughed or laid off, or for those who still have their jobs, each individual has been hit differently by this pandemic.
A particular group of people that I have been thinking a lot of recently is the current graduating class of 2020. I remember graduating from UCONN in 2016 with thousands of others in a massive indoor stadium while carrying the natural thoughts and anxiousness over what type of life was ahead of me. Like most college graduates, I didn't have a concrete idea of what I wanted to pursue, but I can't imagine what the class of 2020 is currently going through with these unpredictable times. Having to finish their last semester with online classes, moving out of their dorm rooms months earlier, and having a "virtual" graduation ceremony must be a hard pill to swallow. This current circumstance is not ideal when you have worked your ass off in school for the past 17 years. And the most unfortunate fact is that the economy is at an all-time low since the Great Depression with most companies not hiring and no way in guessing when life is going to get back to normal.
To be clear, I am very well aware of the fact that college graduates are only one group of millions being affected by this virus. However, I wanted to shine a light on these individuals as they are going through this monumental time a lot differently than previous graduating classes.
In order to get the perspective of a current 2020 college graduate, I interviewed a grad who was willing to answer 20 questions about her college experience, how the virus has affected her, and her hopes for the future.
LI [Looped In]: What is your name?
LI: Where is your hometown?
Grad: Malibu, California
LI: What college did you attend?
Grad: NYU College of Arts and Sciences
LI: What degree did you major and minor in?
Grad: Major in Psychology Minor in Sociology
LI: What made you choose your university?
Grad: The choice came from a surprise acceptance and the chance to be accredited by such a top university! Can't say no to that!
LI: What industry do you want to have a career in?
Grad: Production as of right now but I haven’t totally written off going to grad school and going into the clinical field of psychology.
LI: Before the COVID-19 hit, what were your plans after graduation?
Grad: Plans were to start working back in March and transition into full time once May came around.
LI: How was your graduation ceremony?
Grad: It was a virtual tribute to the over two thousand students in my specific school at NYU so it was brief and impersonal although I applaud the university for attempting to make it special. I know that for some schools within NYU that have much smaller senior classes they were able to make it more personal.
LI:Has the virus interrupted your post-graduation plan?
Grad: It hasn’t made the search for full-time employment any easier that’s for sure! It has caused me to evaluate other fields that I may have a better chance in seeking employment. The production field will be one of the hardest hit, especially here in New York simply based on how it works.
LI: If the virus hadn’t occurred, what would your last week of school have looked like?
Grad: I admittedly am not that big of a school spirit person so for me this question is hard to answer without sounding cynical. NYU does put on several grad events such as Grad Alley which shuts down a few streets around campus and is like a street carnival I guess you could say. However, events like this don’t usually enthrall me so my last week would have looked like taking finals and reminiscing with friends in Washington Square Park about the past few years most likely.
LI: Other than educationally, how did you grow during college?
Grad: This is tough one to answer about myself, as I believe growth is best seen and measured by those close to you, but I think my biggest success is my enhanced sense of confidence. I don’t mean this in that I think I am great, I mean that I am proud of my journey, my character, and my efforts since graduating high school in 2016. I think that in high school you are only ever putting 75% of yourself out there for a variety of reasons, most being social. I believe that college, or the years after college for those who do not choose that path, is when you no longer feel the need to fit in to a certain crowd and are able to embrace all the aspects of your character that were perhaps suppressed during your formative years. I believe that for myself I have stayed true to my underlying character, but that I have elevated my sense of self and worth by surrounding myself with people and opportunities that allow the real version of me to exist.
LI: Where was your favorite study spot near school?
Grad: Sitting in Washington Square Park on a sunny day is the best spot hands down.
LI: Did you have a job while in school?
Grad: I interned for my whole sophomore year, traveled for my fall semester junior year, and then have worked on and off since.
LI: Do you have plans to pursue an advanced degree?
Grad: Possibly, in the future. Never say never!
LI: What did you like most about the city you studied in?
Grad: My love for New York took a while to happen. I grew up in a rather small area of LA and to suddenly be in a city as constant as NYC was overwhelming. As soon as I began to put myself out there I fell hard. The never ending noise, the subway system that seems to never be on schedule, the pizza places at 2am, the rooftop laughter nights and everything in between. I have been here for 4 years now and I honestly can’t imagine anywhere I’d rather be. Except a beach, a beach would be nice ;)
LI: Do you have a dream career?
Grad: If I do, I haven’t found it yet. I hope I do!
LI: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Grad: I see myself in a job I enjoy, surrounded by friends and family, enjoying the little things in life. (Mostly I just hope I’m not quarantined, haha!)
LI: What is a piece of advice that you would give next year’s seniors?
Grad: Don’t be ashamed to say you don’t know. Your last year will be filled with people asking you what’s next and if you have an answer that’s amazing, but if you don’t, that’s okay too. You don’t have to know what’s next and that should not be something that is judged. The important thing is to investigate every opportunity and say yes to whatever will make you happy, even if it is just for a year and then you try something new. Life is short but it’s not so short that you have to settle.
LI: What are you most proud of?
Grad: I am proud of my hard work over the past few years. I juggled being a full- time student, an internship that fast became like a full-time job, I moved across the country and out of my cozy California comfort zone, I formed amazing friendships, and I had fun. In the end that’s all you can ask for.
LI: What are the positives you have taken from the way the virus has affected your life?
Grad: It has made me appreciate how lucky I am to have the comforts of a loving, safe family, a home to be quarantined in, food to eat, and a healthy family. Although my family is not used to living on top of each other and it gets frustrating at times, it is the last time we will all be together. My sister is off to college in the fall and I will be staying in NYC (if all goes to plan, fingers crossed) I am grateful I have friends nearby to take walks with and just talk to when things get overwhelming. I can’t wait for the day life resumes but for now, I am counting my stars that I am safe, loved, and supported in the most uplifting ways.
To the class of 2020 -- stay positive and patient! Life may feel extremely uncertain right now, but the fact is that life will always been unpredictable even in normal times, and in ways that is what makes life great. Take this time to focus on your niche, your goals, and how you plan to make your mark on this world. I am so excited to see you kick ass very soon!