Graduating in a pandemic -
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Graduating in a pandemic

what kinda shit luck is this? 

I seriously am so jacked up by this whole graduating in the midst of a pandemic thing. I thought I would at least be able to experience the whole funemployment phase in coming May — like having a farewell party with my classmates and friends, a seriously insane grad trip followed by a proper convocation. If I’m lucky, I might possibly get out of that funemployment phase after say, two months?  

Boom. Coronavirus strikes. Nothing is normal. Panic! 

Ugh… Can I just say I am seriously frustrated? I couldn’t stop thinking “why me?” when more and more restrictions got put in place. And the sucky thing about this whole situation is that everybody’s feeling the same way, though we’re not saying it out loud, and the general mood is just shitty. 

But can you really blame us? 

Take Tuesday’s announcement for instance. Almost all forms of entertainment — bars, KTV places, cinemas and nightclubs — will be closed till April 30 (or till further notice, at least that’s how I read it). My friends who are due to complete their honours thesis next week, the people who have actually hustled their asses off for 6 freaking months or so, have nowhere fun to go. I mean in the grander scheme of things, this is probably like a “just deal with it la” kind of situation. But can you imagine blocking off the universe for 6 whole months to be stuck at home all over again? Wtf. 

And then there’s that switch to online classes. Sometime after the Lunar New Year, one of my prof decided against face-to-face meetings and threw us all into this scary, scary place called the Forum Page. On this page, everyone except yourself is smart. People do proper research before responding to questions with word limits. Imagine reading three to four 20-page journal articles and having to compress your thoughts and summary of the readings into just 300 words. Wild. 

But that’s not the worst. After posting our responses on the forum, it’s basically a waiting game. We wait for someone to rate our post and comment something. Anything. Sometimes nothing happens until two or three days later. Though we are assessed for our extent of interaction on the forum, the general consensus seems to be that got post can already. Pretty sad, but I don’t blame them. Forum interaction just ain’t as exciting and fruitful as actual seminars. 

me being an idiot instead of watching my webcast lecture

Yesterday noon, I received 2 emails from my professor and TA each, stating that all face-to-face classes will officially be cancelled from Wednesday onwards. All such classes will be replaced with Zoom lessons. Funny how an expression that had ceased to exist in Singapore’s lexicon a month ago is basically all the rage now. But yeah, my prof got really mad because that meant he had to learn the entire technology behind it, and that’s really difficult for someone who has been using a whiteboard to teach for the past 9 weeks. I really enjoyed that sort of learning because it reminded me of a simpler time in secondary school, where the cher will interact with the students and jot down stuff on the board as we go along. Sigh. 

Oh and there’s the widespread attitude of “what for apply jobs now… nobody is hiring anyway”. It feels very tragic to be completely honest. Last year this time, I talked to one of my seniors from NTU, who assured me that regardless of my CAP score I would be hired somehow. His only advice for me then was to not be picky. 

But I’m not so sure now. Friends who have secured jobs have either been able to do so because they applied last semester when everything was still optimistic, or that they have been very hardworking in sending out their resumes everywhere, including to places they might not necessarily want to be at. I thought of doing that, but I didn’t want my first job to be a job I hated. I know, how ungrateful of me to bear such thinking now! Got job can already what! But please, every other graduate in other years had the privilege of pondering over the same issue and I want to be like that too ok 🙁 

But I did actually think of a gameplan to counter this potential problem of being unemployed long-term. I thought that I could just work in a tuition centre, which I have been doing for the past two months, to get by. But news declaring the closure of all tuition and enrichment centres blew that off for me too. So no income again. 

My friend Daryl tells me it’s okay to be jobless for a bit. “Can do other interesting stuff. Or do internship!” 

My dad joked and said I could work for him. To give some context, my dad runs his own business and specialise in selling and supplying alcohol. I thought, ok, why not? Can gain some real experience, though it’s definitely not as glamarous as a Big Four internship. 

Then my dad said I had to pay him. I was like, why ah? 

“Any investment needs a decent return,” replied my dad over WhatsApp, “I have invested a lot in you over the years.” 

Ughhhhhhh. I know it’s a joke but dad… I was really banking on you to give me a job haha. 

Regardless, I know there’s no one to be blamed for this situation. In fact, it’s a blessing in disguise. My friends have been sharing this Instagram post addressed to the “Class of 2020” for the past few days, and I must say it has been quite comforting to know that our fears are being recognised. 

In the post, one thing stood out to me. The OP made a point to say something along the lines of “we can finally take this time to do something not so serious”. Something that we all enjoy and might not be able to do if we had proper jobs. Like doing crafts or trying our hand at being a YouTuber.

I felt that. So I’m taking my time to discover my interests and apply for jobs and internships I may not necessarily do if I had to account for my livelihood. In fact, I’m thinking if I should do online courses since we can’t really head out now. 

What say you, friends? I won’t say I’m completely convinced at being this unproductive (read: not earning proper money), but I’m beginning to feel a little more optimistic.

Maybe it’s time to try out gardening, as per TJ’s suggestion, or just nua sai. Maybe it’s time we all take ourselves less seriously, and be less critical of our every action. I mean, that’s all we have been doing since PSLE isn’t it? 

I seriously hope things start looking up in time to come. Till then, I will be washing my hands with soap a lot more often. And maybe finally start my YouTube channel. Who knows? 

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