COVID-19 reroutes seniors’ graduation plans

COVID-19 reroutes seniors’ graduation plans. Photo courtesy of Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Being a senior in college is already a tedious task on its own, but adding the COVID-19 pandemic to the equation has put a lot more on the table — maybe even more than most can handle.

It has been a year and a half since the world completely shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak and a great number of people had to pause, change or redirect short and long-term goals until things got under control. Some college students, specifically seniors, had to revisit and reroute post-graduation plans and even graduation itself.

Not only has the pandemic affected students’ graduation plans, but mental health and financial statuses as well.

Jaelyn Jackson, a fourth-year Interdisciplinary Studies student, shared her thoughts on adjusting from physical classes to virtual and the personal struggles she has dealt with during this transition.

“The pandemic affected me severely, I had to do a retroactive withdrawal from the semester due to mental breakdowns and depression,” said Jackson. “I am a very hands-on student so learning virtually was a huge struggle for me.”

Morgan Sims, a fourth-year General Health Science major, had to push back her original graduation date due to finances that were originally allocated towards her tuition but were instead used to support herself during quarantine.

“I had to support myself during the pandemic which ended up putting me in a hole and making me take a whole semester off to pay my previous school balance off,” said Sims. “This obstacle made me feel undetermined and stagnant, because it delayed a process that I strategically planned.”

Sims also shared her struggles with contacting the university’s administration during the pandemic.

“With everything being remote during quarantine, getting in touch with advisors, financial aid and student accounts was a struggle on its own,” said Sims. “Being on hold for hours, not being able to get direct answers and constantly being redirected to different offices was very frustrating and only added to my stress.”

While these unplanned and unfortunate events have many seniors scrambling to figure out their next move and ultimately feeling stretched too thin, experts want to shed light on the situation.

Jacqueline Screen, counselor and therapist at Pace Center for Girls, believes this pandemic is in no way a reflection of  students’ learning capability, because it is out of their control.

“Remember, it’s not about when you get there but how you’ve managed to fight through the obstacles and still get there,” said Screen.

Facing adversities is an everyday part of life that affects everyone differently, but it is essential and imperative to rise above them and make the best out of the situation.