North Texas Daily

The thought of graduating in a pandemic is worrisome, depressing

The thought of graduating in a pandemic is worrisome, depressing

The thought of graduating in a pandemic is worrisome, depressing
February 03
11:00 2021

Graduation. What once was a cause for celebration and one’s entry into “the real world” has now been reduced to a daily existential crisis and unsettling reservations. The thought of graduating and getting a job is terrifying enough as it is, but throw in a global pandemic and struggling economy and it begins to feel somewhat apocalyptic. Are we really supposed to go about our lives as if things were normal even when that clearly is not the case?

It’s a strange feeling watching senior year and your early 20s pass by without having much to show. We did not really have the opportunity to make any last memories or celebrate the way we all wanted and this has led to some mild denial, in my case at least. Virtual ceremonies and drive-by graduations are the closest we are going to get to the real thing in the foreseeable future. While these adaptations to the new normal are thoughtful and making the best out of a bad situation, it’s still not quite the same.

While this uncertainty is scary, it led me to ask questions I might not have thought to ask or consider if things were normal. Whether it be the fear of the unknown or the excess of free time, I found myself questioning seemingly every decision I made throughout the past four years. Asking myself questions and second-guessing things did not lead to me finding the answers to all my dilemmas, but I was provided more clarity and a better understanding of what I don’t want to do and what I do.

Having to navigate post-grad life in a “normal world” feels like uncharted territory. For the first time in my life there won’t be school to fall back on or use as an excuse to procrastinate. The last few years were spent focusing on getting good grades, getting into a good school and working towards a degree. We spend our whole lives being students and being told to think about the future and have a plan. This now seems ironic considering how arbitrary plans have become in the past year.

Recent graduates also seem to be isolated when it comes to job hunting. Almost every job posting I’ve seen requires at least two to three years of prior experience to even be considered for the position. I’ve seen my friends who have graduated struggling to find a job that it has gotten to the point that some are considering going to graduate school to buy some time and find a bit of normalcy.

These feelings are nothing new and I’m sure many people experience similar emotions when they are about to graduate. It’s difficult leaving an environment you are comfortable with and being thrown into the deep end. While these feelings may be heightened because we are in a pandemic, that does not make them any less valid. I’m still scared to graduate, but I find comfort knowing I’m not the only one.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Meghana Vadlamani

Meghana Vadlamani

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