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School, Careers, and the Future Amidst a Global Pandemic: A Young Woman’s Perspective
August 27, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The future is unpredictable. But lately, unpredictable has taken on a whole new level of meaning. With the rise of Covid-19, people everywhere have been forced to rethink their futures and plan for the unknown. As a young woman who is preparing for her future and getting ready to start a career, Covid-19 has turned my whole world upside down. For example, I like to plan. Ideally, every minute of my day is written down in my planner and my phone is set with alerts to remind me to complete even the simplest of tasks. Routines are essential in every one of my endeavors, big or small. But, with everything happening in the world, that has changed. The pandemic has left college students and younger generations wondering what their futures will look like. Figuring out the future is already hard, add in a global pandemic and it seems nearly impossible. For us women who have entered and are preparing to enter the workforce, where does that leave us? The odds are already not always for us and creating a sustainable career can already be challenging to grab ahold of and keep. I interviewed several other interns from She Leads Media to get their take on how the pandemic is affecting their future, plans, careers, and how they are now planning for the future in the midst of a global pandemic. Here are some of their thoughts:

Olivia Koutsky: “For me it wasn’t the fear as much, it was more what do I do when I’m not obliged to do anything. So, I’m sitting at home and I’m thinking more about what do I want to do and what do I love. So, I was torn between sociology and English when I was choosing my major because I’m going to be a college Freshman this year…. I started doing more sociology related internships and I’m listening to the news more right now. Before, earlier this year, everything sounded like if I were doing sociology, everything would be more detached and theoretical. I’d be looking at large groups of numbers instead of people one on one but I’m realizing that’s not the case now that I’m listening to all the Coronavirus news. Another thing is I’m realizing that this is a lot deeper than what I thought it was going in, and it’s because I’m learning about all the suffering today.”

Abby Marmer: “As a recent college grad, I definitely have had to re-think the way I would be spending this transitional period of my life. As a go-go and motivated person, I had been hoping to move to a major city right away after graduation, find a corporate job, check off the boxes, do all the ‘adult’ things, and start my life. I sort of had this idealized image all throughout college, it was what I thought I wanted. But I’m extremely grateful for this extended period of time spent at home because it has shown me that there is much more to life than jumping right into the rush of the workforce. There is a lot we can learn about ourselves when we simply slow down and take time to go inward.”

Julia Cremin: “I’m interested in pursuing multiple industries as I begin my career, but the work that I’ve found to be fulfilling and a lot of fun has been events. It’s been my goal for a while to work somewhere that produces live events, and I’ve had to rethink that through this pandemic. Not only do I miss the event work that I was doing pre-pandemic, but I’ve had to consider how this industry will change as time progresses. A lot of my time in college has been focused on honing my interests and discovering what I’d like to do in my career and this year has left me having to reconsider my options.”

Abby Cho: “There have been positives and negatives to the new workflow that the pandemic has produced. Before COVID, I definitely didn’t think I could pursue a digital career. I was looking forward to working in a corporate office and starting a ‘9-to-5′ schedule. In my head, I was imagining taking BART into San Francisco to go to an office where I would sit at a desk and work until it was time to go home, and every day would follow that same schedule. Thanks to the pandemic, I have been able to work multiple jobs remotely. I spend my time sitting at my desk in my apartment, doing work for people that I’ve never met in person. I have been able to pursue so many different paths, from podcast editing to writing and social media content creation.”

Internships, jobs, and even education look extremely different for the future. No one truly knows what the new normal will look like. Plans are subject to change, futures are unknown, and careers are beginning to look different. The one thing I have learned from this pandemic is that nothing is guaranteed. This simple phrase is one that I think should encourage young women everywhere to chase after their dreams and not look back, no matter what anyone says.

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