Daniella Fishman, Culture Editor |
I hate to admit it, but I don’t want college to end. College always felt like its own bubble of reality. I remember telling my friends freshman year that time seemed to move a bit slower in Oneonta. As I moved up to sophomore and junior year, the thought of the “outside world” seemed to inch a bit closer, but still far enough away for me to forget about it. Now I’m a senior and suddenly the real world is at my front door.
The more I think about paying my student loans after I get my diploma, the more my stomach turns. I still think of myself as a kid but if I don’t go to graduate school next year, I need to find a job with actual health insurance, which is terrifying. I’m in a position where I could go to grad school and get a master’s degree or leave college with my bachelor’s degree and get a decent entry-level position. But before my mom starts shaking her head at the latter of the two, I know that to get a job better than an entry-level position, I would have to have a master’s degree. The problem is though, now that COVID-19 has shaken up life in every aspect, the job market has been unstable, to say the least.
Social anxiety about the outside world is at an all-time high. The period between March and June felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone; a period of shared derealization. Now, after six months, we are starting to attempt to go back to “normal.” As people begin to leave their homes, unrecognizable behind their masks, the fear and caution of post-COVID-19 reintegration will likely last for a long while. As a senior, these next few years would have marked many firsts for me: living without school responsibilities for the first time in my life, finding a real job, making real money or maybe even moving out of my parents’ house. Still, all of that was halted once COVID-19 hit. I was anxious and excited to become an adult in today’s world, but now the world has changed, and my life plan needs to account for the pandemic. After experiencing the past two semesters of online learning, I worry about having to now work through Zoom. I am lucky that what I do can be converted remotely; however, I am sad to miss out on the personal aspect of working with people. Not being able to properly meet my coworkers is something I didn’t see coming when I envisioned my job situation during the pandemic.
COVID-19 took an already anxious generation and subjected us to total isolation. Coming back into society and finding good-paying jobs when a new set of rules to guide our interactions is nerve-racking for everybody. You’re probably lucky to get an in-person interview, but what good is it if you can’t even see them behind the mask? Today’s college seniors are going into uncharted territory. We will be on a trial run to see how societal integration will affect our current, and future, job market.
I’m seven months away from Commencement and while I am not mentally ready to start paying back my loans and finding health insurance, I know that regardless of COVID-19, I would still be anxious. Adulthood is coming fast, but I know that I’ll never be prepared until we all pass through the pillars and officially end our time at college. College is a fantastic experience that everyone should enjoy, but it’s still just a bubble.