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With College Finished, Graduate Shares Her Experience Preparing for the Job Market

Elizabeth Gabriel

The COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns have been especially hard on seniors who were expecting to celebrate major milestones this season, including graduation. Now, a University of Oregon student talks about preparing for life after college.

22-year-old Banyan Olds is graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in linguistics.

“I took one linguistics class and I really liked it,” said Olds. “And then I just decided to change my major from education to linguistics.”

Like many other students, Olds was disappointed her last semester was online. For her, the transition made learning more difficult.

“I'm not a fan of learning online because I'm having a harder time [focusing] online than in-person,” said Olds.

But she said she is making due with the changes.

Credit Elizabeth Gabriel / KLCC News
Banyan Olds stands inside a store with a face-mask and a "Out of Stock" sign for her graduation pictures.

The Taiwanese-American has lived in Eugene for the past four years, since she decided to attend the UO. Olds hoped to have an in-person graduation so her family could visit, but those plans were put on hold because of the pandemic.

“So instead [I’m] probably just gonna have a virtual graduation in my bedroom or living room and maybe Skype or Zoom with my family,” said Olds.

Since the UO has also invited 2020 graduates to the 2021 graduation ceremony, Olds plans to participate in the in-person ceremony next year.

For the past few months, Olds has been trying to find a job, but is having trouble. She hoped to find a position teaching English or in marketing.

If she is unable to find a job, Olds said she will probably go back to Taiwan and complete a certificate class or a computer class so she can build her experience. But the unknown future has been weighing on her.

“I have terrible feelings sometimes like overall,” said Olds. “So it's really emotional. Like sometimes I feel okay. But sometimes it reaches to the point where I feel like everything is unfair. But of course I have to think about others [who have] worse things than this. So I would say, yeah, it is what it is.”

Now, Olds is working remotely, but will most likely go back to Taiwan to get a job. In the future, she plans to return to the United States for graduate school.

This story is part of a series of audio postcards documenting the missed milestones of graduating high school and college seniors.

Elizabeth Gabriel is a former KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She is an education reporter at WFYI in Indianapolis.
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