What is your name, class year and major?
“My name is Malini Baker. I graduated from Central Washington University and my class year was 2021. My major was business administration, with a specialization in leadership and management.”
How did your graduation occur this year?
“My graduation plans occurred this year online virtually. So I was unable to do an in-person graduation.”
“Especially for people that aren’t used to online learning, and are [new] coming into that experience, being self-motivated is one of the biggest things you will have to learn.”
How did you choose to watch graduation?
“I watched it in bed, on my computer. And I did not even really watch it, I just watched my little portion and then I went back to sleep.”
Were guests allowed to attend the graduation online?
“Guests were allowed to join the virtual ceremony. On the CWU, Central’s, page, there was a link that family members or friends could join, to view the graduation ceremony along with you.”
How was the experience partaking in a virtual graduation?
“For my graduation, the link actually did not even work. So we were not not able to watch the graduation. So I just got to look up my name. There was no speaker, or if there was, I could not see it.”
Did the school’s plans for graduation change frequently during the months/weeks leading up to graduation or was it locked-in far in advance?
“They sent out the link, I think probably three weeks before graduation. It did not really change at all. The only thing that probably did change is they sent out a reminder email probably about three days before to join the link or send it to family. So nothing really changed.”
“I am looking for a big girl job, as they like to say.”
Did the school handle graduation better or worse than they did in the past with COVID?
“I think that they probably did a little worse because the communication wasn’t the best. I think there [were] a lot of questions left unanswered that if you needed more help with a question, you would have to go seek that [answer] yourself. So i think, not having a resource to go to in-person to go get the information [from] you were just sitting there waiting for emails.”
Do you think the changing state and national guidelines had an effect at all on the poor communication by the school?
“I think that with the state guidelines, they did have to change the way they did things. But I also think as a school, they could have adapted better and communicated better. Although the state guidelines did affect it, the school itself could have adapted way better and communicated more.”
“…in my degree especially, you have to work with a bunch of people. And that is where it really got hard was getting in contact with people.”
How do you feel about graduating in a global pandemic?
“I do not really think it was that impactful, because I do not like going to class. So I liked online classes. It was a little bit difficult when having to do group work. I did have a class where I had to do a group project, and so it made it really difficult that we weren’t all in class to meet. Some of my [group] members were hard to get in contact with, so that process was really hard. Individually, it was a great experience for me. But in my degree especially, you have to work with a bunch of people. And that is where it really got hard was getting in contact with people.”
Do you feel like your college prepared you for graduation?
“I think that they did prepare me because my professors were really good about their online work. All the professors I had were already online teachers. So they already had [a great curriculum], so it was really nice. And all my professors were easy to reach out to, and replied really fast. I think it was just when it came to the students, and communicating with them that it was really hard. But I still learned everything that I needed to because of the professors.”
What are your plans now that you have graduated?
“I am looking for a big girl job, as they like to say. With my resume, I need to fix my resume, and then I am going to start to look for an entry level position for my degree in business. I am just kinda seeing what opportunities are out there right now. But I am hopeful [I will find one soon].”
Has the pandemic made it harder to find a job?
“I definitely think it is harder to find a job because of the pandemic. Because a lot of jobs now are remote, and [have employees] work from home. So I think it is hard because companies are trying to adapt their businesses to the pandemic guidelines. So it is alot harder to bring on new people when you have to let [others] go.”
What was your experience job hunting during the pandemic?
“I was trying to find an internship, and then the pandemic hit, and I was not able to find one anymore. Because everyone was switching online, and letting go of a lot of people, and not many were taking interns anymore. So after graduation, since I have just graduated, I don’t think it has been hard since I have not looked necessarily. I have been waiting for the world to settle down a little bit, and then maybe see what is out there. But I definitely know that it is a lot harder for people who are trying to find a job right after they graduate. Because it is still really hard to get the people that [employers] need.”
What advice do you have for online college students?
“My biggest piece of advice would be to communicate, even if it is going to [feel like] over-communicating. I personally don’t think there is such a thing as over-communicating when it comes to your degree, and the things that you are learning. You want to know everything, and make sure that you are not missing out on anything.
Especially for people that aren’t used to online learning, and are [new] coming into that experience, being self-motivated is one of the biggest things you will have to learn. So whether it is keeping a calendar or keeping a planner, or something [like that], just making sure that you are staying organized. Because if you are not organized, and you are not on top of it, it can really slip away. Like out of sight out of mind, it can really slip away really fast.
So communicating and keeping on top of yourself are the best things.”