Covid-19 pandemic impacts recent Cal U graduates seeking jobs and furthering their education

%22Dream+Big%2C%22+a+graduation+cap+decorated+and+worn+by+Alaina+Ross+%2716+at+California+University+of+Pennsylvania%27s+183rd+Undergraduate+Commencement+ceremony%2C+Convocation+Center%2C+Dec.+17%2C+2016.

Jeff Helsel

“Dream Big,” a graduation cap decorated and worn by Alaina Ross ’16 at California University of Pennsylvania’s 183rd Undergraduate Commencement ceremony, Convocation Center, Dec. 17, 2016.

When Taylor Carroll began her academic career at California University of Pennsylvania, she did not imagine she would be where she is now as a 2019 graduate. Not only have her plans for her career changed, but she also graduated right before the COVID-19 outbreak that seemed to pause everyone’s plans.

“COVID ultimately affected where I went to grad school,” Carroll said. “I was in the process of applying to graduate programs and the thought of going to another state and trying to navigate a new program online, while also navigating a new city seemed like too much.”

Carroll said that although she does not regret her choice in programs, she does not feel that her choice was her own decision.

Isabella Frucella is another Cal U graduate who finished her undergraduate program right before the COVID pandemic.

“COVID didn’t affect my undergraduate experience,” Frucella said. “However, I was accepted into the Disney College Program and I was sent home two months earlier than I was supposed to due to the parks closing.”

Frucella also stated that COVID affected her application process for graduate school as well.

“I am currently doing my grad program at Penn State University, which had always been my plan, but COVID may impact my internship and practicum experience,” Frucella said. “I may not be able to enter the school and may now have to do Telehealth.”

Hannah Crawford is another Cal U alum who has been affected by COVID. Crawford is a communication disorders major, who said she has been struggling to get the clinical hours that are required for her program.

Kylee Wisilosky, a psychology major, also struggled with moving forward in her career after graduating.

“It was hard not knowing if grad school would be online or in person,” Wisilosky said. “It made it even harder to decide if deferring for the fall semester would be the right choice for me.”

Another Cal U graduate, Reginald Surpris, who is a graphic design major described how the pandemic affected his career goals as well.

“COVID has made it harder career wise since the majority of graphic design firms have frozen their hiring process until they are back working in their offices and not working from home,” Surpris said.

Surpris said that due to the current situation, he is back at his old high school as a social media manager, though he was hoping to be working in California for a graphic design firm or in the marketing department of a company at this time.

Alex Gariepy graduated from Cal U in 2019 and said that she is very glad that COVID did not hinder her undergraduate experience.

“I am really thankful that I graduated early so I didn’t really miss out on many milestones as my peers,” Gariepy said. “I am extremely thankful and humbled by that.”

“I reflect a lot on Cal U and all of the things that I took for granted when being on campus,” Gariepy said. “But we’ll all get through this and come out stronger.”