When and how you graduate is inherently personal. For me, I decided I wanted to graduate early because I felt that school was overbearing and limiting to what I want to do. Although I have learned a lot and I have met people who have helped me immensely, I find that school is a commitment I did not need anymore. I want to work for myself and I want to go travel the world, both of which require money. If you’re interested in hearing more on how I’m graduating early, check out one of my older articles.

Now, my story is different than yours. I’m currently a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, studying Advertising, Marketing, and Communications. I have interned at 8-9 places, started my own business, run this blog/podcast/magazine, and is striving to do more. Not everyone has the circumstances that I do and I’m lucky to say that I do. I’m not saying I had it easier as a first generation Asian American but my parents taught me well and gave me the wisdom to work hard at a young age. My hunger for more in life is satiated yet challenged at the same time.

I would say that I’m pretty content. School is my happy place for knowledge and definitely enhanced the mental tools I already had. I know well that outside of school, I have the capability to succeed and sharpen myself regardless of anything that comes my way. That’s for sure. But the obstacle that was placed upon me was one no one expected. The pandemic.

Graduating during a pandemic is no fun. Many of my friends are struggling to pay for themselves and have difficulty finding a job. Although I am graduating in December of this year, my concerns are just the same. Will I be able to find a job? Am I too young? Is ageism present? What do I need to do after graduation? What if companies are unwilling to pay me? Should I just stay in school for another semester?

All my plans of traveling or working for myself full time is now being reconsidered. Should I get a job and work on my dreams on the side? Should I just approach my dreams full time, no matter the costs? Am I taking a big risk here? Can I travel outside of the United States in 2021? Will the pandemic permit that?

A lot of things are being questioned and personally, I find that the uncertainty the pandemic brings affects all of us alike. As life is already filled with uncertainty, there is now no way to even plan nor anticipate the future without considering the negative outcomes of the pandemic.

Graduating early has been a great gift for me, as I’m given more time to reflect and to explore my career opportunities. But graduating during a pandemic left me questioning the steps I have to take next in order to live my best life. It’s not as bad as it seems but certainly could be better. With much thought, I think I’m just going to take my chances and focus on working for myself full time, whatever that may look like. And if you have the means to, I do suggest that you do what makes you happy after graduation, no matter when and what you decided to do. That is largely because this is THE best time to pursue that, make mistakes, and still succeed. Good luck!

-Annie 🙂

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