Students concerned about the return to post-secondary this fall

Study Buddies: Gabrielle Pyska and Kelsey Eng in Calgary on May 24. They have quarantined together because of COVID-19. (Photo by KaleyRamage/The Press)

With unemployment at a worldwide high, students are feeling the uncertainty hitting hard for finding a job after graduation.

Younger generations have already felt the burn from the broken economy for a while, and now the anxiety of building a life after a global pandemic is another stress added on.

Originally from Lethbridge, Kelsey Eng and Gabrielle Pyska are two roommates who have been in quarantine together since the pandemic started. They are in school to become journalists and also share a passion for social issues.

Eng attends SAIT and is going into her second year starting in September. Eng worries about her future in the program as the sudden home schooling was a surprise.

Practicum is also a big part of the program that many look forward to, but this year’s gradates may have a different experience.

“It’s just not the same,” said Eng. “Doing an online practicum will be the same as doing an online class.”

SAIT has yet to update returning students on the status of their classes, but Eng is hoping it will be in person, though that doesn’t seem likely.

Pyska attends Mount Royal University and is a writer for the Calgary Journal.  She is set to graduate and soon to complete an internship online.

“Mount Royal sent an e-mail to us saying they’re having their fall semester online,” said Pyska. “I’m supposed to do my co-op for my internship this fall semester and I don’t know how you can really do that online.”

One of the biggest fears students have for coming into the September semester is their grades dropping due to not being able to focus at home.

“I’m scared my grade will drop significantly being at home,” said Pyska. “Versus going to school, seeing my friends, and being hands on with my learning.”

Journalism can be a hard industry to find work in. Pyska and Eng know that once the pandemic passes it will be even more of a struggle to find a job.

I am someone who is very hands on, I don’t like the thought of going back online. – Gabrielle Pyska

Both women are nervous, but still excited to go back to school, come September, even with the uncertainty. The stress about their future is still high, but making the best of the situation at hand is what they plan to do for now.

Even though both are finding it hard to maintain the grades and experience they wanted out of post-secondary, they vow to remain optimistic about the future.