Arts & Life

Fall 2020 graduates share their thoughts on their final semester at CSULB

The graduating class of fall 2020 at Long Beach State share their thoughts on their virtual, final semester.

Brandy Briseno, a fourth-year management and supply chain management double major. Photo courtesy of Brandy Briseno.

Brandy Briseno, a fourth-year management and supply chain management double major, has mixed feelings about her schooling being completed, but she is ready to move forward.

“Yeah I’m excited, not as excited as I was supposed to be in person,” Briseno said. “I’m probably one of hundred of graduates that’s sad about the experiences, but I am excited for it to be over.” 

Briseno wants to become a buyer that is involved with e-commerce, selecting items to merchandise and sell over the internet. She said that some of these industries were affected by the pandemic so she is trying to find one that isn’t impacted by it.

“I’ve been in school for so long, I’ve put [it] in my mind that when I leave school that my plan would have been prepared, I know what I would do,” Briseno said. “But I’m scared and nervous and I feel like I’m not prepared.” 

The experience of virtual learning since March has been challenging for students, but it’s also taught them something about their work ethics.

“I could teach myself a lot more than I thought,” Briseno said. “I underestimated how much I could learn from Youtube. Usually you go to tutoring and we have more resources on campus. You’re the only resource at home. I realize that I have to take things into my own hands.” 

Ren Nagata, a fourth-year chemical engineering major. Photo courtesy of Ten Nagata.

Like Briseno, Ren Nagata, a fourth-year chemical engineering major, said that learning from home helped teach him the importance of self-reliance and taking initiative. Otherwise, he realized, students risked falling behind in their studies. 

Nagata had to split his time between school and work throughout college. He went to community college, and occasionally returned to being a part-time student during some semesters while he worked. That led to a long path to graduation. 

But Nagata made it. 

He wants to use his degree to be a process engineer, which is responsible for overseeing raw materials turned into final products, for the petroleum industry.

Nagata said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, this period had many hurdles which will continue for some time.

“Internships got canceled in the beginning of the pandemic,” Nagata said. “It makes you feel really uncertain…who knows when we will recover?” 

Jordan Newby, a fourth-year journalism major. Photo courtesy of Jordan Newby.

Jordan Newby is a fourth-year journalism major who said this past semester taught him how to take things at his own pace. He had two remote internships and said that it was easy to get more work done because he didn’t have to physically go to school.  

“You have a lot on your plate, you can get a lot done if you can manage your time well,” Newby said.

Newby was doing broadcast journalism and said that he wants to start in television news in hopes to live out his dream and work for ESPN and Fox Sports as a sports reporter or an analyst.

While CSULB fall 2020 graduates’ commencement ceremony will be a contactless vehicle parade and virtual presentation, a reminder of just how different life is due to the virus, it does mark the end of their schooling at CSULB. 

For students like Newby, that comes with a sense of uncertainty for their futures. 

“I’m definitely ready to move on and see what the next chapter holds, but it’s definitely a little worrisome like you gotta have a backup plan or what if this doesn’t work out as planned,” Newby said. “That’s a little nerve racking of not knowing what will happen and where I’ll be in the next couple of years.”

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