Graduating into COVID-19

Photo by Andre Hunter for Unsplash

By Caitlin Joyce

Brockport Beat Editorial Board

Looking outside your window everyday can get really riveting. One day you wake up, and Brockport is dusted in a sheet of snow, undisturbed in the morning hours. The next day, you wake up to a bright blue sky and soaring birds. Quarantine is an interesting experience, and makes even the most minuscule things exhilarating.

For upcoming Brockport graduates, this state of quarantine is more a time of limbo and confusion than relaxation and self-improvement. The looming dilemma of employment after graduation makes almost everyone’s stomach perform a swift dance, twisting and turning in anxiety. No one could have been prepared for a situation like this.

In this article, four upcoming graduates share their experience trying to find work in this impossible employment climate.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of citizens filed for unemployment rose from 1.4 million to 7.1 million in March alone. These are extremely daunting statistics, especially for new graduates trying to hustle their way into the work force. Many students have found positions being terminated, and their chances of obtaining a career job dwindling smaller and smaller as these numbers rise.

For some, summer jobs are threatened, with social distancing guidelines and their inevitable extensions looming in the near future.

Maddie Petherick, an upcoming Brockport graduate says, “I have upcoming interviews and a summer job, but COVID-19 is probably going to take that away from me.”

Petherick is a present and active part of campus, being an anchor for the college’s Study Abroad department. Given her experience, scoring a killer career position shouldn’t be difficult, but COVID-19 is threatening to take the opportunity from her.

Similar to Petherick’s story, Derek Valentine, an active member of EuroSim and the Political Science department, has had his employment opportunity taken away from him because of COVID-19.

“I have a job with the Census Bureau, but it had been postponed because of COVID-19,” says Valentine.

Some other future graduates haven’t even been able to find an interview, let alone a potential summer position. Stephanie Wehrlin, an active member of both Brockport Student Government and EuroSim, is having difficulty finding anything.

“I have not been able to find anything. I’m going to be on the sidewalk for eight hours a day,” says Wehrlin.

While some students have had their opportunities squashed by COVID-19, that is not the case for all. For some, trying to balance online school with potential jobs has been something that is unachievable, leading to students shooting down offers.

Joseph Anias, former president of the college’s Political Science Club, has opened up about having to turn down offers to focus on crossing the finish line, and obtaining his degree.

“I graduate in May, but I’ve turned down jobs because they required too many hours and availability– because of school,” says Anias.

While every graduating senior faces a different scenario, all of their concerns are the same: Will COVID-19 effect my chances at scoring my dream job, or even just a job in general?

While staring out your window everyday can get riveting, it can also get rather frustrating. College graduates deserve a fair chance at starting the life of their dreams, but the threat of COVID-19 is too great to stop following social distancing guidelines and lockdown rules now. In order for life to regain balance as normal, we must make sacrifices. Even if it doesn’t seem for the best in the now.

In order to save our future, we must sacrifice the present. For college graduates, that means sacrificing their first shot to make it big in this vast world.

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