I interviewed Sabrina Hernandez, a friend and former coworker. Having spent almost three years working together, I wanted to talk to someone who had an experience that was different than mine, even though we only graduated 6 months apart. She's also one of my only friends to have a real job post-graduation, so I wanted to celebrate her accomplishments!
1. Where did you graduate from?
I graduated from The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
2. What has it been like spending your last semester under quarantine amidst the coronavirus pandemic?
It actually was kinda relaxing, because it made my classes a lot less intense because a lot of my professors had to focus on their families/lives. So I actually had some assignments canceled, and with exams being online, we could take them whenever we wanted to. It definitely made my school work easier, and I ended up doing pass/fail, and I stopped caring. It did get a little frustrating trying to work from home with my dog, especially when I had to take an exam. When quarantine first started I thought that if I needed to do something, I would just go to the library or a coffee shop to help me focus, but then everything closed. After spring break, it just felt like the school year ended.
3. Of all the things you missed out on because of quarantine, what has been the hardest to accept?
I think the hardest part was not being able to say goodbye to people and things I was involved in for four years. My last day of work at the Union Market, which I didn't know would be my last day, I left in a hurry and I didn't say goodbye to anyone. Graduation was definitely different, but by the time it came around, I had accepted that it was going to be different. Looking back on it, it probably would've been cool to actually graduate. I think I would've held on to those final moments and appreciated the last days, but by the time that quarantine started, I was so tired of doing the work then, I just wanted it to be over since it's not the ending that I expected. I think it would've felt more real if I could've graduated and gotten to say goodbye.
4. What has been a silver lining?
The silver lining has definitely been able to spend more time with my dog and boyfriend. It also has been reaching out to people that I haven't talked to in a while. I had some Zoom calls with coworkers and people I went to high school with. I think because everyone got kinda lonely, they started reaching out to each other, and that was cool to get to talk to people that I hadn't gotten to talk to for a while. I think that quarantine made me appreciate simple things like getting to go to a restaurant, or getting to shop without worrying about getting to close to them or them getting too close to you, and not having to wear a mask or worry about things.
5. What have you done to make up for some of the graduation traditions you aren't able to do?
I haven't done too much because I kinda just accepted that college ended that way. On the last day of classes, my boyfriend and I took Ruby, our dog, on a walk around campus. I used that, instead of getting to walk in the Shoe one last time, or going out to eat with my family, to reflect on the memories I had at OSU, instead of making new memories at graduation. I thought about how I ended up where I am now, and I walked past all my own dorms, and remembered living there. I used that time to reflect on what I'd done.
6. What are your next steps, and have they been impacted by coronavirus?
My move hasn't been impacted, I moved away from campus and that went smoothly. I'll start working for JP Morgan Chase in mid-July, and we were supposed to have a week-long training in New York City with all the other people in my program, there are people from multiple cities who do the same job as me. They were going to fly all of us into New York and have a week-long training there. One of my best friends goes to Columbia, so I was excited to get to spend time with her and explore the city more. That's been canceled and instead we're having a three-week training online, that's self-paced, and we're going to work from home until August. It hasn't affected my start date, but it is affecting the way I will be working. There's no real plan for when we go back, but our office is the biggest one in North America, so we'll probably be on rotational schedules, with some people working from home some days. I think it's weird for us to be starting work right now because there's so much uncertainty.
7. What is the worst thing someone can say to a Class of 2020 graduate?
During graduation, they kept telling us how we had overcame adversities, and that we were so adaptable and resilient, and I thought it was so annoying. It was bugging me because I didn't have it that hard. My classes got easier, and I just sat at home with my dog in my comfortable apartment. I thought that it was unfair and taking away from the people that are actually struggling during the pandemic and struggle every day. It felt like they were calling us heroes for making it to graduation, when it is what it is. I think that high schoolers went through a lot more than college graduates because they missed out on more than just graduation. College students haven't had it that hard, just because they missed out on graduation. People have gotten super sick, lost family members and have struggled to pay for things, I feel like it's unfair to say that we've been through adversity when other people have had real struggles.
8. What is one piece of advice you would love to give to the Class of 2021?
Be ready for a giant curveball. I think the people who struggled with quarantine and graduation being canceled were the ones who had expectations for things to turn out a certain way. You just have to make the best of the situation you get. Graduation wasn't what I expected it to be, but I still was able to enjoy it. You need to find the silver linings in things. You have to work with the lemons you have. You might not get the lemonade, but you might just get some lemon zest. Make the best of it, no matter what it looks like.
9. What about the last few months do you think you'll remember most?
I'll definitely remember all the time I've had with my boyfriend and dog because that's something I wouldn't have had otherwise. I'll also remember all the Zoom calls with people because I feel like when you set up calls like that, it's so much more rewarding that seeing people every day. I regained an appreciation for talking to people. I think that getting the face to face taken away from us made me appreciate what we have in our hands to talk to people, like social media. Definitely the free time. I wish I would've read more books or did more crafts. It made everyone slow down, which is a huge change for American society, and it's something that I'll carry with me and continue to appreciate and look for.
10. What is your favorite Ohio State memory?
It comes back like a movie montage where you go back through all the memories you have. Honestly, working on campus because it was something that I did all four years. If you just rely on classes, you don't really meet anyone, but I met a ton of people at work. It kind of pushed me out of my comfort zone, because there were times I struggled with work, and you'd hate it, but you'd also love it because you met awesome people. I also worked with Camp Kessum and that gave me so many good memories. My highlight definitely would've been going to the camp. The memories I have at Ohio State are amazing because the people I met, more so than the things I did.