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Covid-19: How It Impacted 2020 Graduates

4 months of no posting for me. It felt wrong to make a post without addressing at least some things that have been happening... but I didn't want to write a sob story about myself because I'm obviously not the only one that has been going through this. Though our experiences vary, there's one thing all of us 2020 graduates have in common: Covid crashed the party.

In an attempt to make this a little more personal, I reached out to a few 2020 graduates and asked them how the pandemic had affected their post-graduation experience. Here's what they had to say:

“Finding a job is a disaster.”

- M.G., Masters in Social Work

In January 2020, the average unemployment rate across all of the United States was 3.55%. By May 2020, when most graduations typically occur, that number had jumped to 14.29%. (Read more here).

“The pandemic . . . [rerouted] my entire internship experience. It was no longer face to face . . . A lot of agencies are no longer hiring or are doing interviews online.”

- J.N., Masters in Social Work

Back in 2016, George Washington University analyzed 12 studies on technology and job interviews and concluded that "the absence of body language, eye contact and rapport building in video interviews can hurt a person's chance of landing the job." Overall, the research showed that in-person interviews are the best option. (Read more here).

“I felt proud of myself because not many Latina women get a master’s. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments and I didn’t get a ceremony for it . . . The process of finding a job and going through this pandemic was heavily affecting my mental health. I went from having a busy schedule to staying home with nothing.”

- E.G., Masters in Social Work

As a Latina, this response hits close to home. A lot of Latino parents came to United States to give us a better education and a better life, and our graduations symbolize that their efforts were not in vain. In 2013, more than 1 in 5 Latinas between the ages of 25 and 29 had not graduated high school, 19% had completed a college degree, and only 4% had completed a Master's degree or higher. (Read more here).

“That is a full-loaded question.”

A.V., Juris Doctorate

It really is.

“We worked 3 years and then didn’t get an actual graduation . . . I ended up back home taking care of my parents for about 2 months at the end of the spring semester . . . My roommate . . . moved out once we went virtual and at first I didn’t know if I was going to have to pay rent for my whole house which I couldn’t afford . . . There was a hiring freeze so for about 3 months or so my number 1 choice job was like, ‘we love you. But we literally can’t hire you right now,’ which added an insane level of stress during bar prep . . . Then the first push [to the bar] came which meant I would have to move during bar prep . . . and I had to take the MPRE the same week as the bar . . . Then [the bar was moved] again to a date that is 2 weeks before my only real studying location option so there’s that distraction happening all on top of just general pandemic craziness/stress.”

R.W., Juris Doctorate

This. Law school is one of the worst educational experiences out there, not to mention expensive. To make things worse, having a law degree does not automatically make you eligible to practice law. You still have to take a bar exam, which, once again, is one of the most difficult and most important exams you will ever take. Try studying for a bar exam in the middle of a pandemic and social unrest while also worrying about your personal problems. It's not easy. In Florida, the bar was supposed to occur in July 2020, but it has been postponed 3 times now (the latest with a 72-hour notice). As of today, we have yet to take the test, which is now scheduled for October. There has not been a group before us that has had to retain all the testable information for this long. Bar prep is usually 2 months long, we've had to do it for half a year. It feels great to have spent 3 years and over $150K to become an attorney to then not be one half a year later. (Read more here).

“It stole our graduation ceremony, which was supposed to be this huge mile-marker. It feels like we were just dumped from sitting in classes straight into a sort of purgatory while we wait to take the bar. There was no last day of school, no goodbye to our professors and friends, no sense of finality. One day we were in class and the next were told via email to stay home.”

B.L., Juris Doctorate

My last day of in-person classes was March 12, the Thursday before Spring Break. I never thought that'd be the last day I'd see some of my classmates and professors. I never thought that'd be my last day of law school.

“Made it even more sucky than [what it already was]. If I didn’t know what I was gonna do before. COVID made it worse.”

M.M., High School Diploma

Do you remember the nostalgia and fear of the unknown you felt as your high school experience came to an end? Do you remember the pressure you felt to know what you were going to do with your life afterwards? Well, imagine all this on top of a pandemic. How awful.

Unfortunately, 2020 graduates are all bonded by an unfortunate series of events that have yet to stop. We have a perspective on life that no other graduate before us has had, and we have demonstrated we have incredible adaptation skills. Many times, we feel unseen and unvalued; we feel like the universe played a joke on us. Hopefully, this limbo state a lot of us are in will soon come to an end.

If you are a 2020 graduate, know that you're incredible and you should be proud of your accomplishments. Celebrations are temporary, but knowledge and accomplishments remain with you forever. Keep fighting the good fight, good returns are near.

If you know a 2020 graduate, reach out to them ask how they're doing. They will greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for stopping by! Leave a comment and tell me what your post-graduation experience was like. Subscribe for more and share. Additionally, let me know if there's anything you'd like me to write about.

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