From what my parents and friends have told me, adjusting to post-graduate life is not an easy transition. But, imagine that you are graduating college in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic? This has become the reality for several Class of 2020 and potentially Class of 2021 college students/recent graduates like myself. As I embark on this journey myself like many others around and before me, I decided to sit down with my good friend Shivani (a Class of 2020 college graduate) about her transition into the post-graduate world in the midst of Covid-19.

Tell me a bit about yourself!

So I was born in Boston,MA in the late 90’s and I lived in Delaware for most of my cognitive development years and life, then moved to Ohio and I’ve been in NC since 2014. My main interests are reading, dancing, working out, journaling, watching TV, and doing a whole bunch of nothing. I really enjoy now more than ever doing a whole bunch of nothing because I have a job now and I look forward to the time where I can relax. I went to two different high schools, and enjoyed both of them very much. And I graduated from Meredith College with a B.S. Public Health. I would love to have two Siberian Huskies one day and move back up north– North East area and settle down with my future husband and future kids!

So, I know you are also an influencer! What content do you like to share with others (drop your handle here too if you so choose!)?

I am all about mind, body and soul. So currently it’s a lot of selfies as I take social distancing and Coronavirus very seriously and I want everyone to understand the severity of our pandemic. Other interests include makeup and fashion! My handle for instagram is @shivanideva2020.

Where did you go to college and what was your degree?

I graduated from Meredith College in 2020 with my Bachelors of Science in Public Health with Minors in Biology and Chemistry.

How were you involved at Meredith?

I was heavily involved in Meredith in clubs and took up leadership positions. I wasn’t always this involved. My freshman year I took it quite easy and participated in clubs and made sure that my presence was known to the board members of the clubs. It’s because I did this that I was able to land a position on the MHPS board and move my way upward. Other clubs I was a part of were ISPE, SCUR, Tri-Beta.

So, you graduated in May 2020, what did Meredith do to commemorate you and your classmates’ achievements?

So since I graduated in the middle of the Pandemic I didn’t get a proper graduation. However most of us were able to get Graduation Pictures and I for sure certainly took mine!

Is there anything you wish Meredith could have done differently?

Honestly no, because at this point in time most of us have gotten the closure we needed and have moved on.

How did you cope with completing your degree from your house rather than at Meredith?

At first I was in denial because all I wanted was an extended spring break– senioritis in college is very real as well, hehe! But then it slowly sunk in that i wasn’t going to be ableto see my friends or socialize with anyone due to the pandemic and that doing my best to stay home and be socially distant was the only option I had. It allowed me to have to myself and really focus on my studies and finish it out strong and surprisingly my GPA was the highest its ever been!

Knowing that you graduated from college during a pandemic, how did you move beyond those college years into your post-graduation years all while mainly staying at home?

So for me looking for jobs was really hard because my initial plan was to go to graduate school within a year. After much consideration i realized that right now is not the time for more academia as I was really burnt out from undergrad. I took a SAS Programming course 2 months post and I was working towards a certification. And now I am employed at CCNC as a Case Investigator for COVID-19 and am working remotely!

What is one high of the past 6 months since graduating from Meredith?

Getting a job! Because it finally gave me the break I needed to get back up on the horse and start my career as well as use my degree.

What is one low of the past 6 months since graduating from Meredith? 

Well this is a heavy question but I have had to face the loss of a dear family friend alone compounded with the burden and fear that if I went out anywhere that I would get the virus and jeopardize my parents who are both at high risk for contracting the virus.

How have you stayed connected to your friends from Meredith since March? What suggestions do you have for others who struggle to remain connected to their college life?

Technology and Facetime are a GODSEND!!!!! Use that phone for something else other than watching the same YouTube Video over and over again. I kept in contact with all of those who are near and dear to me and they did the same as well! My advice for those who are struggling is keep making the effort and showing that you care about the other person; if you are meant to be in their lives and they yours then things will work out. Use your social media and constantly check in on one another, use your email to stay in touch with your professors–they still care and want to know what’s going on.

How do you stay involved at Meredith as an alumni? How can others get involved at their own alma maters?

 think having connections with professors and staying in contact with other alumna helps. Also have friends who are younger and are underclassmen and can get you on panels to talk to students!

What strategies did you use to cope with going into adulthood virtually?

Yoga, working out a lot, and not lashing out at everyone and everything. It was hard at first, bit a good thing that came out of journaling was that I journaled everyday and didn’t cluster together days or weeks. I also used my zoom classes as a way to see friends and looked forward to those meetings!

How did you process the fact that you missed out on the last weeks of your college experience?

This is again a very hard question to answer because truthfully I was in denial, and then I was angry. The anger lasted for about 3 months and I realized that I was fighting a battle alone that just had no end result or goal really. I couldn’t fight the pandemic on my own, the population of the GLOBE had to get it into their head that the situation is serious and it shouldn’t be ignored. But later i was able to reflect and honestly the pandemic gave me time to think. Most of my life has always been go-go-go, like running a race of some sort. So it was very nice to see how I had this time where there was no pressure on me to meet a deadline or attend a conference.

How did you move beyond college life during Covid-19 into your post-graduation life?

Again the time from graduation to getting a job for me was 6 months and during that time I kept myself busy. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop! So keep yourself busy and also think about life in the bigger picture and make plans for what your purpose is and how to go about fulfilling it! And I look at everything as a stage or phase of life. High School was a phase, College is one as well. Each and every step teaches you something so learn and learn honestly and take those lessons and move forward in life implementing them.

What are the major differences between college life and post-graduation life from your experiences?

So academia is a process and a progression whereas working a job is very boxed in and has a time frame. For example in college if you didn’t get to study for the material for an exam on a monday you still had time to do it the whole week before the exam–meaning you have to work outside of classroom hours. With work, all of your knowledge and work ethic have to be displayed and put to use during that 8 hour time frame, but afterwards you are free to do whatever you want to do.

For those who struggle with knowing what they want to do post-graduation, what would you say to them?

You are the creator of your own timeline. I listen to a lot of Jay Shetty and he has incredible wisdom so I recommend his podcasts to begin with. But with that being said as Jay stated, be in control of your own timeline but make sure it is fulfilling and busy for you. I wouldn’t not recommend sitting idle and doing nothing. Make vision boards, pick up a job, find a new hobby and see if you can make an interest of yours a passion and a career.

Our world is changing and has changed so much. What are some tips that you have for soon to be or recent college graduates with adapting to these new changes as they enter the workforce?

Looking for a job starts before you graduate. The job market is hard and so make sure you are going to networking events and make sure you stay in contact with those contacts. After a certain point it’s not what you know it’s who you know that gets you your job.

The Class of 2021 (including myself) is graduating in May and even December with mainly virtual college since March 2020. What is one piece of advice that you have for students graduating in December 2020 or May 2021 as they make this transition?

Take it in stride. This is not your karma or the universe trying to get back at you because you can’t graduate like the classes before you. Remember that you are and always will be strong to get through this. You just have to keep repeating it and believe in it and yourself.

Last but not least, what is one thing that you would say to yourself a year ago from today knowing what was about to come?

Reach out to those people who you were shy to reach out to or afraid to reach out to. More than likely chances are that they will remember you and want to say hi as well. Break the ice. And also don’t take for granted what you have before time makes you realize how precious it was what you had.

As Shivani has shared, remember to make the best of every moment even if that moment looks a bit different due to Covid-19. Chances are, you will not have that time ever in your life again. Most importantly, pandemic or not, the best is yet to come!!!

XOXO – Katie <3

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