Tag Archives: graduation

Blog Post 1: Graduating during COVID

During the onset of COVID-19, most Americans believed that the pandemic would subside within the span of a year. 2020 graduates had the unique experience of graduating and moving onto a new segment of their life without an actual celebration. Many universities canceled their ceremonies – rendering the gown and cap seemingly useless. Their families didn’t get to cheer for them as they walked across a stage and they had to wait for their diplomas to be mailed to them without the pleasure of accepting it on stage. 2020 graduates then struggled with the frustration of knowing that all their effort over the years felt unrewarded.

New Year’s has passed and it is now 2021. COVID-19 is as rampant as ever – perhaps even more so. While vaccines are finally available in Minnesota, there is no telling when it will be regulated to every Minnesotan.

Just the thought alone emerges with complicated feelings, but 2021 graduates have the advantage that 2020 graduates did not – trial and error. During 2020, universities tried various methods to ensure that their graduates could celebrate. The most common method was an online virtual celebration, where peers could congratulate each other in a chat box. This came with its own challenges as livestreams froze, names were skipped, and more. The effort was appreciated as most of the complications occurred due to the last minute planning.

But 2021 graduates have quite a few months to go before graduation, which means they have more time to plan and offer insight to the university before the ceremony. 2021 graduates can contact their universities and share ideas. What do you want to see? What would you like offered? 2021 graduates have the time to take it upon themselves to let their university grow its options and work as a team with its staff. You would be surprised at how a single suggestion can grow multiple branches of action.

Graduation- What’s Next?

For a handful of us, this was our last semester at Metro State in our respective programs. Last Saturday, I walked in the graduation ceremony at the Minneapolis Convention Center along with several hundred other students. As the procession included both graduate and undergraduate students, I felt inspired by my recent decision to begin looking into grad school. Though I haven’t even begun the application process yet, I’m struck by an onset of confidence. Obtaining my undergraduate degree took me a couple years longer than I anticipated as well as desired, but I made it and still in time to look good on my resume! Having accepted a recent job offer at Abbott Laboratories, I find myself stuck at a crossroads on what to do next. There are several obvious reasons for why I should graduate school as soon as possible. I think I’ve narrowed down my focus, so that’s definitely a start. Let me explain what I want to do next.

Having a five year plan has become somewhat of a trend recently and I find myself joining along. Although I’m not quite at my “dream job” yet (although it seems that many of us still have a ways to go in this endeavor), I think I will be soon. Let me start with what I want to do for education and then I’ll go from there. I want to obtain an MBA with a finance focus. Since I haven’t taken many business courses prior to this, I’ll need to take a couple prerequisites such as Financial Accounting and Micro & Macro Economics. Though I’m planning to attend Metro for this, I can take these courses at North Hennepin for cheaper up until I’m completely ready to apply. I’ve been having a friendly experience so far in the application process, having recently found out that more programs are doing away with standardized tests due to their underlying implicit racial bias. That could be saved for an entirely separate blog post however. So overall, my plan is to get settled in at Abbott, find a second job to help pay down some debt (student loans and car payment) and then begin the process of grad school. All in all, I’ve got a lot going on over the next couple years.

Since my goals are high caliber, my work ethic will need to remain so as well. I have a lot riding on me to be successful in these endeavors but I feel up for the challenge. I feel it is imperative to obtain my graduate degree soon for several reasons. For one, I want to obtain a job that pays me enough to do what I want without having to get a second one. I want to be able to spend time with both my future kids and my future dogs. Another reason is that I need to stand out with automation coming soon. Whether for better or for worse, automation is coming for a lot of jobs and we all must do what we can to remain competitive. Although this mission is paramount, I’m also doing my best to slow down and enjoy the journey along the way. Once I obtain a degree in finance, there will be a lot of things I can start doing that I’ve wanted to. I can consult with my friends on helping them start and expand their businesses. I can begin investing in real estate and other funds so that I can retire early. In order for all this to happen, I’ll also need to volunteer more and possibly complete some internships.

All in all, the next couple years will be busy for me as I’m sure it will continue to be for my classmates as well. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my journey so far, it’s to always expect the unexpected. And part of that entails striving for self-improvement each and every day. To close, I’ll cite a quote from one of America’s all-time favorite Presidents’ John F. Kennedy “Do not pray for easier lives, gentlemen, pray to be stronger men.”

What are your plans after graduation? Feel free to join the conversation in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading,


Graduation is Terrifying

As of today, Sunday, the 10th of March, there are 48 days until commencement on April 27th. I have a counter going down on my phone. (Why commencement isn’t after the official end of the semester, I have no idea. Someone please let me know the logic behind this.)

It’s exciting, knowing that I’m almost done with this four-year journey. I feel smarter, more mature. I feel qualified for things, which is great.

But I’m also terrified.

After I graduated high school, back in 2012, my world slowly imploded. I didn’t know where I wanted to go to college, or what I wanted to do for a living. I didn’t have a very good grasp of what the world was really like. I was a kid.

So I followed my crush to his college, a very teenage girl thing to do. It was expensive. It was lonely. It was cold. For the first time, I faced the very real possibility that I might be a failure. I was embarrassed. I was depressed. My parents finally convinced me to come home after that first semester. I’m not sure why they let me go in the first place. I was a kid.

It went downhill from there. I had been told from a young age how independent I was. How I was so talented, and would surely be going places. I don’t know what I was thinking. As soon as I got a full-time job, I moved out of my parents’ house. They would have let me stay, but I felt that I shouldn’t.

Life with roommates was tough. I lived mostly with strangers, and boyfriends who broke up with me before our leases ended. Sharing a bed for months with someone you thought was going to love you is hard. Doing it more than once is heartbreaking.

Our apartments were cramped, split three or four ways so we could reasonably afford the rent and utilities. I was the kid in our first apartment, too scared to take initiative or touch anything that wasn’t explicitly mine. To compensate for the lack of control, I became the mom of my second apartment. I managed the money, drove the college kid to school and her friend’s house when she couldn’t take the bus. I dealt with dirty dishes, and took out the trash, and sorted the recycling. Sometimes I cooked, but often I didn’t have the energy to do more than scramble an egg or pour a bowl of cereal for dinner.

A rash started developing on my neck and wrists. My feet hurt. I was constantly tired. I lost 30 pounds and thought because my body seemed different, I must have gained weight, and started eating even less. I wore larger clothes without noticing how baggy they must have been. I didn’t have much money at the end of the month to put into savings. I was stuck.

Was this going to be my life forever?

I hit the last straw, finally, one day, and decided to go back to school. Community college, close to my parents’ house. As long as I was pursuing a degree, I could live with them, without having to pay rent, or buy groceries. The ultimate form of stability: food and shelter. A clearly paved path forward.

Stress had destroyed my health. As soon as I moved back home and settled in, became a person again, and not a mechanism going through the motions, it was like a dam broke inside my body. It stopped trying to hold itself together. The rash that had been threatening my skin in small patches exploded across my entire body–literally, the whole thing. Showers were painful. Clothes were painful. I itched constantly. It was exhausting. I often woke up in the middle of the night with panic attacks: hands shaking, and a feeling in my chest like the balloon of the world was poised on the sharp end of a tiny pin. I started sleeping with the lights on; it sort of helped.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. I could be here for days, trying to describe the few short years that managed to demolish me from the inside out, and the long and infuriating road to recovery. I might look like an ordinary person now, but that’s thanks to years of allergy immunotherapy, a relatively new bi-weekly immunosuppressant injection that keeps my skin from flaring up, hyperthyroid medication, anti-depressants,  and therapy.

So, after all of that, the idea that I’m about to be done with school again, that I have to try any of that life again is absolutely mortifying. I can’t think straight. My brain is trying to come up with hundreds of ideas at once to keep me safe and on my feet and doing something worthwhile, if plan X, Y, and Z don’t happen to work out. There are so many contingency plans trying to build off of one another that I haven’t been able to pick any one of them to start off with. Focusing is difficult. Writing a coherent paper or blog post has become difficult–which, when you’re a writing major, with a typically very natural affinity for writing, only snowballs the issue.

I don’t want to be stuck working for someone else, especially a large corporation with headquarters far removed from its people. I want to be an entrepreneur, I want to start my own businesses and do my own freelance work–and I know I have the skills to do it now–but the uncertainty is crippling. The idea of being stuck somewhere I won’t have control over my life and my mental health is mortifying. The idea that my plans will tank, or won’t take off in the first place, is frightening. The fight or flight response is getting worse by the day.

I’m nearly 25, but I’m just a kid. A kid with invisible illnesses, and only so many spoons. Worlds and worlds of good ideas, but only so much time.

And I am scared.