Editorials, Opinions

Dear class of 2021, we did it!

I didn’t anticipate for my senior year of college to be spent mostly online. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S in March 2020, I assumed that it would be over by the time I started my final year at Long Beach State. I was selfish to think that this global health crisis would have no effect on me. 

Now, over a year later, I’ve wrapped up my college career looking at my computer screen, saying goodbye and sending virtual hugs to my classmates and professors while sitting at my kitchen table. 

Enduring an entire academic year online was a challenge for me. There were moments when the finish line couldn’t be seen, moments when I wanted to do anything but turn my computer on and moments when I cried feeling like my workload was never ending. 

However, not every moment was bad. It was during the pandemic when I found my first internship with EdSource, a news outlet that reports on California education news, when I achieved a 4.0 GPA for the first time ever and when I won journalism awards related to my coverage of Puvungna, COVID-19 and sports. 

Finishing my B.A. in journalism in the midst of a pandemic shows how resilient I am. I could have easily given up — with a valid reason for doing so. College is hard as is, and continuing your studies online is even harder. For me, taking college classes online is more difficult than doing so in person because the boundaries between work, home and social life all become blurred. My workspace doubled as my break and rest area. I didn’t have a moment to rest after a lecture, as I went straight into another meeting or began working on my homework assignments. 

My mind was constantly on the go. There were moments when I seriously questioned if I even needed a degree. 

However, I didn’t quit. And that’s partially due to my mom and other family members encouraging me not to give up. I prayed a lot, asking God to give me the strength to finish the year. With the encouragement and strength from God, I didn’t give up on myself. I didn’t let the stresses of going to school, 100% remotely, affect my future. Now that I have made it to the other side, I’m glad I didn’t let those obstacles stop me. 

As I enter post-grad life, I don’t have a solid plan lined up. During the semester, I applied to numerous  entry level reporter positions and even had an interview for one prospective job. I’m still waiting to hear back from the company with their official decision. Until then, I’m going to celebrate my accomplishments with my friends and family. I’ve deserved that. 

My last year of college taught me about myself. The challenges I faced have shown me that I will always overcome obstacles thrown my way. I think that same statement is true for the rest of my fellow graduates. We earned this moment, and I hope we all get the chance to soak it up. 

We have faced a global pandemic and still managed to get our degrees. We can face anything.

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