Thousands of Local College Seniors Face Uncertain Future During Pandemic

Like college students everywhere, graduating seniors are facing an unprecedented landscape in the job market.

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With American companies laying off 22 million workers during the last month, college seniors entering the job market are concerned about their prospects.

It’s the final weeks of their college career for 10,000 San Diego State University seniors who are set to graduate in May, and they're entering a world where everything is changing.

“I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do yet, not sure what program I wanted to do yet and where, and then all this happened,” said senior Taylor Alexander.

Alexander chose a medical assistant program that’s going to start online. Her housemate Kaity Johnson said having to finish out her food and nutrition degree online hasn’t been easy, either.

“For me, personally, I don't do well with online classes," Johnson said. "It’s hard to keep up and remember when you have assignments due."

The housemates said the worst part of finishing college during the coronavirus pandemic, by far, is not having a graduation ceremony.

“It was heartbreaking to know that I was going to have to call my family … because I know so many things in my life and in their life were sacrificed for me to get to that point,” said Brianna Blackwell, another senior at SDSU.

Blackwell, an economics major, has to head home to New York to find a job. She wanted to go into the sports industry but now is rethinking that plan and looking at other options so that, hopefully, she can find a job more quickly.

James Tarbox, the director of SDSU’s Career Services, said the center has shifted many of its services online.

“The ones who I see who are really doing well are really focused on what they can control and not let the other things come in and overwhelm them,” Tarbox said.

Tarbox stressed the need for graduating seniors to think outside the box and ask themselves: What skills did you pick up in your major that might be applicable to an industry where you might be able to land a job in which you can work remotely? Also, use the career center to access virtual job fairs and take virtual interviews seriously, dressing up, being engaged and asking questions.

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