I am a senior this year at WSU, which means not only am I so close to graduating, but I’m so close to all of my collegiate experiences ending and my career beginning. So how do we, as students, navigate this?
When things first went online, I was most worried about my career. I want to perform but my shows were suddenly canceled, my directing opportunities were put on hold, and future shows I planned on adding to my resume were postponed indefinitely.
And while I was afraid for my future, I saw friends crying around me because their concerts were over. It was their last social event with people they’d worked with for four years.
I’m here to let you know that it’ll be okay. There are so many ways to stay connected to WSU and your friends, as well as actually make your resume better and work towards your career.
Connections to WSU and friendships
Week of Welcome is a huge deal on college campuses. It’s where your career launches and where you get your class photo taken. At WSU, you experience the All-Campus Picnic where you can learn about activities, programs and get free food. Although it won’t be happening this fall, WoW won’t be taken down that easily.
Joni Ford, assistant director of new student programs, and Kimberly Holapa, assistant vice president for external engagement and strategic initiatives, both clarified that WoW would move forward online.
Every event that happens during every WoW will still occur but in a different way. To the Freshmen reading this: you’ll still have a 2020 group photo. Go to the WoW website to see all the events and ways to get involved with regular WoW activities.
Also, if you ever feel like you’re alone as a Coug, put on some WSU gear, a mask and walk around. I can almost guarantee someone will say “Go Cougs” to you.
Friendships don’t have to suffer either. In fact, going on Zoom and being placed in break-out rooms made me talk to more people in my class than I had when it was done in person.
If you enjoy binging TV shows or movies with friends, this is a great time to consider a Netflix subscription so you can use the Netflix Party feature. There are also a lot of games you can play online over Zoom. You can play games ranging from Cards Against Humanity to beer pong (please drink responsibly).
Even with these steps, friendships and community engagement will take extra work.
“Because we are so far apart, it’s going to take some effort to engage,” Holapa said. “I would encourage students to make that effort.”
Do yourself a favor and get the same “college experience” by putting in that work; it’ll pay off!
Furthering Your Career
There is no doubt that there are opportunities that once existed that don’t now. I lost the chance to participate in shows, and my friend can’t get hands-on experience with museum artwork. But this shouldn’t stop you.
I’ve been able to hone my craft in the last four months more than I’ve been able to do in the last three years. I started a YouTube channel, made a website and auditioned for a musical theater competition – my career path right now is thriving, actually.
It takes motivation and hard work, but you can find a way to further your career every day. If you’re not working to find resources, you can’t blame COVID-19.
Work on your application materials, make your own website and fine-tune your professional social media. The opportunities seem practically endless when you start searching. You can start those projects you’ve been meaning to or reconnect with old ties to the industry.
Despite how stressful it’s been to live through a pandemic, it can actually become a marketable attribute. Being successful and finding ways to further your career shows you can work in the face of adversity and, if nothing else, not be any worse off.
That’s something to be proud of and show off.
“Instead of looking at what you cannot do, focus on what you can do and do that at the highest level of quality,” said Horace Alexander Young, associate professor of saxophone and jazz studies.
I’ll say it: the whole situation is bananas. COVID is crazy, school being online is crazy and navigating all that while trying to grow friendships and career is crazy. But it doesn’t have to be the end of it all.
Do the work, take the chances and find ways to think positively about the situation and you can succeed.