Struggling Spartans: How Seniors Feel about Graduating amidst a Pandemic

Struggling Spartans: How Seniors Feel about Graduating amidst a Pandemic

Sierra Jezuit

December 24, 2020

As the calendar year comes to a close, many Spartans prepare for a new beginning. Some will be gearing up for another semester while others begin their transition from student to full-time professional. This transition, though exciting, isn’t easy for all, and the circumstances this year are a little different than usual. 

As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, many worry how they will stay afloat. Unemployment numbers are consistently rising, businesses are being forced to close or drastically cut their staff and families continue to live in states of isolation. For students preparing  to make the transition from the classroom to the workplace, the process may turn out to be anything but exciting. 

Hailey Deyo is a Spartan studying professional writing who graduates this December. Her goals for post-graduation were to pursue a career in the publishing industry, possibly relocating to do so. Unfortunately, her original plan may not pan out. 

“I’m nervous now about how I’m going to be able to get a job, if I’m going to be able to afford a house,” said Deyo. “The book industry took a hit during quarantine, and while I’ve heard good things about the employees being remote and possibly staying remote to allow more diversity in the industry, I’m still worried about my ability to find a job after graduation.”

Luckily, due to the nature of her field of study, Deyo is able to use her writing skills to work in a variety of roles, like freelance writing or editing. However, she still worries about graduating amidst a pandemic. 

“I feel like I’m not going to get any sense of closure. [My] major is so small, and I have made a lot of friends throughout my undergraduate career at MSU,” said Deyo. “I don’t truly get the chance to say goodbye to these friends, to favorite professors, or to the campus. I’m glad they’re offering to stream graduation this semester, but it doesn’t feel like it’ll be the same.”

Jaclyn Krizanic is a current senior also studying professional writing and has faced anxieties of her own about graduating. Krizanic won’t be graduating until Spring of 2021, but she is already altering her plans for post-graduation. Before the pandemic, Krizanic aimed to relocate to Arizona and begin her professional career. Now, that may not be an option. 

“I sort of gave up on wanting to move since the uncertainty and spread of the virus is so unsure,” said Krizanic. “It will continue to be for a while it seems until there is a vaccine and once one is out I will probably wait another year or two until I decide to look into more serious plans on where to live and finding that job out West.”

As Krizanic prepares to graduate, she aims to land a job writing or managing social media. Although she is willing and able to alter her plans, she still wonders how this pandemic will affect her long term career goals.

“I feel that the future will look remote especially in the creative and writing fields, so having those opportunities of online remote internships has prepared me. On the other hand, the whole cohesive thought about ‘graduating during a pandemic’ is something I get nervous about from time to time. It takes a toll on someone to have to be glued to a screen all day to work towards a degree,” said Krizanic. 

As Deyo and Krizanic gear up to transition from the classroom to the virtual office, they are faced with various uncertainties and tough decisions. For some seniors, however, they see even more classrooms in their future. 

Kara Headley plans to graduate from Michigan State University and then pursue a graduate program for film. Headley, like Deyo, will be graduating this December, and has always had her mind set on graduate school. The only aspect of her plan impacted by the pandemic was the time between graduation and graduate school. She had previously aimed to look for an internship or travel, but both options may prove to be unattainable. 

“Travel is pretty much out of the question now. I wanted to try to get an internship to get some more experience in the film or video production industry, which is where I want to end up after school,” said Headley. “Seeing as a lot of those jobs are shut down, I’ve decided to just stay with my current job at the MSU Innovation Center, where I’m a writer, social media manager and videographer.”

Though Headley has the opportunity to stay in her current role while she waits to begin a new leg in her educational journey, the pandemic has greatly affected her last few semesters as a Spartan. 

“Being in my apartment all the time and not really being able to see my friends has been a bummer, especially seeing as I move back home in a few weeks. It’s definitely not the senior year I imagined,” said Headley. “Nothing is the same when you’re doing it through a screen. The pandemic also adds an extra layer of uncertainty and anxiety to the future that I do not appreciate. I already don’t know what my life after graduation looks like, and now there’s a pandemic affecting everything I have no control over. It’s certainly stressful.”

Like many others, these seniors are preparing to dive into a world of uncertainty. Attaining jobs, relocating or simply staying afloat may prove to be difficult, but hopefully their experiences as Spartans will prepare them for anything that may come their way.

Sierra Jezuit is a fifth-year studying professional writing and English. She plans to work in the editing field after graduation and hopes to share her passion for literature with the world. In her free time she can be found listening to all kinds of music, browsing Netflix and writing poetry.