Graduating during this pandemic is no longer as exciting as it once was because I’m dreading the inevitable boredom that will attempt to overcome me. The pandemic has been one of the worst things to happen to the human race in this century, and the distraction of college significantly lessened its impact. But that distraction is coming to an end.
It can be maddening to feel as though you are trapped in a single space without any means of getting out, and for those of us who are partaking in social distancing, it can be quite trying at times. Even if we have been unable to partake in our normal campus activities, online classes have preserved some semblance of the college experience. For some students, it is the thing they anticipate most each week.
Many people have absolutely nothing to do during this time and are struggling to find ways to spend the empty hours of each day. This is even true for people who have jobs that distract them for a few hours of the day but spend the rest of the day in utter boredom. One would think that, in this technology-driven age, boredom would be impossible for any lengthy period of time, but the pandemic proven that idea wrong quite convincingly.
And with the job market now all over the place, finding a job feels like an even more daunting task than it had been prior to the pandemic. Some of my peers had potential jobs lined up for them to start right after graduation, but with the outbreak of the coronavirus, those job opportunities are no longer on the table for them. Personally, I am quite fortunate in that I am not in dire need of getting a job as soon as I graduate. It is my preference to get a job quickly, but it’s not a must. However, I realize that some people are in a situation where they very much need to get a job post-graduation, and I do not envy their task.
I could sit here and tell you to take the extra free time this virus has given us and indulge in your hobbies, and while that advice has merit, it isn’t applicable to everyone because not everyone has a lot of hobbies. I think of those videos on Instagram where people have set up these incredibly long and elaborate courses throughout their home for a ping pong ball to traverse, and as cool and creative as they are, I almost always find comments saying some rendition of “Jeez, do these people have nothing better to do with their time?”
Obviously that comment can come off as being a bit obnoxious, as people are allowed to spend their time doing whatever they want, and if you enjoy constructing obstacle courses for ping pong balls, then all the more power to you. But I imagine that at least some of the people making those things really don’t have anything better to do with their time.
And for the graduating seniors that think having more free time in the coming weeks is going to be a good thing, I disagree with you. Just imagine the breaks that we have between each quarter and then extend them indefinitely. As much as I always looked forward to and enjoyed having those weeks off from classes, whenever I was nearing the end of the break, I would start getting an itch to get back to class.
Having an abundance of free time is one of those things that sounds nice but in reality can become monotonous very quickly. I’m already finding that days feel significantly more boring than normal because most things have remained stagnant. To make matters worse, it isn’t motivating when you realize that there is not much that can be done about the current lack of job opportunities. Once this quarter ends, navigating life will be a lot stranger than we’d all originally anticipated, as those of us who had post-graduation plans somewhat mapped out won’t able to stick to those plans.
It’s going to be rough, for some more than others. Regardless, it is critical that we all keep finding ways to practice and improve upon the important skills for our desired areas of work. For many students, college is the only place where we really work on our craft, so without that, it may be difficult to come up with an alternative form of practice. If most of your work takes place in a lab environment, for example, it’s going to be difficult to find an actual substitute for that lab experience. Of course, you can keep studying from textbooks and other materials to continue improving, but that obviously won’t have the same effect as actually doing work in the lab.
Basically, don’t get lazy. As uninspiring and dreadful as college can be at times, it helps us stay honest in the pursuit of our passions. Without it or a job in our line of work, it can be difficult to keep ourselves working towards our own personal goals. This pandemic is testing everyone’s perseverance. While it may seem like a decent idea to just put things on hold and wait for things to go back to normal, that would be a mistake. We’ve come across a roadblock in the journey that is life, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop and wait for it to clear. There is always a way forward.