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Tuesday August 16th

Class of 2022 seniors look ahead: what's next?

<p><em>May, in the middle holding the peace sign, along with Kappa Theta Phi members at Six Flags Great Adventure (Instagram @kdptcnj).  </em></p>

May, in the middle holding the peace sign, along with Kappa Theta Phi members at Six Flags Great Adventure (Instagram @kdptcnj).  

By Kaitlyn Bonomo
Staff Writer

The start of the spring semester means that, for the class of 2022, graduation is just around the corner. Being prepared for graduation is ultimately what students work toward throughout their time at the College, bringing forth an array of emotions when the time finally comes.

“I think I'm coming out of college more culturally aware, socially aware and very professionally minded,” said Cristhofer Moreira, a senior communications and public health major. “But there is that fear of thinking about what is next, and I think a lot of seniors can relate to that.” 

The fear of what comes after college is easy to put off for underclassmen, yet is something that all students will eventually confront. 

“I used to hate when people would ask about my plans after graduation,” said Sabrina May, a senior interactive multimedia major. “Now, I just give the honest answer that I don't know. I feel like the reaction I always get is that people start freaking out for me, which I totally get but I still don't think any of us are adults. We are still segueing into a new phase of our life and have our entire lives to accomplish great things.” 

During the journey from under to upperclassmen, the Covid-19 pandemic hit at a midway point for the class of 2022 — certainly putting an unexpected twist on the typical college experience. 

“Covid definitely changed my plans,” May said. “I was going to go to grad school, but now there's more job openings in the field that I want to go into, UX and cognitive science, so I've been applying to jobs and trying to go straight into the workforce.”’

The start of the pandemic completely threw off what would be considered a typical college experience.

“The pandemic has taken many valuable aspects out of our experience and equitable education,” Moreira said. “I'm a first generation college student who is also a first generation immigrant. My parents took a big hit economically, and I was no longer able to rely on on-campus jobs. That pushed me to start looking for off-campus jobs, so I will say that Covid has given opportunities for things I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.”

The pandemic has also influenced how senior Nicollette Simon started her career as a nursing and public health major. 

“Covid really made things fly, it was like my junior year was non-existent. It felt like freshman year, sophomore fall, then fast forward to now being a senior,” Simon said. “Covid kind of happened at the right time in my college experience. I did wish I was on campus, but as a nursing major there is no work at home option so I was able to continue working and made great money.” 

Since returning to campus last fall, students in the class of 2022 are able to conclude their time at the College without the seclusion present at the start of the pandemic. While graduation is a fulfilling rite of passage resulting from hard work and dedication, the feeling becomes bittersweet when leaving all the memories behind.

Moreira and Simon posing for Homecoming Court (Instagram @4cxm20).  

“I'm gonna miss a lot of the people,” Moreira said. “From day one, I recognized that I wasn't going to just make friends with people in my major, that I had opportunities to make friends with business majors, nursing majors, people interested in medical school, all the above. I believe that is really what builds community.”

Although their time as college students is coming to a close, the class of 2022 still has much to look forward to with an entire semester ahead of them. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing all the things that I started grow into bigger things,” May said. “I started the tech frat Kappa Theta Phi, and I’m excited to see it grow into something more social and recognized.”

The last semester before graduation is a time for seniors to reflect on their journey while making the best of what they have left. 

“I'm excited about social events, whether it be through Greek life or the cultural organizations I am involved with,” Moreira said. “I am the head liaison of a huge cultural dance competition sponsored by the Indian Student Association called Jersey Jalwa, so that is something I am really optimistic about this semester.” 

Throughout their years of being at the College, the class of 2022 have valuable advice to underclassmen whose journey has just begun. 

“Imposter syndrome is real, and no one talks about it,” May said. “It's okay if you're crying every day, college can be isolating. No one knows what they want to do. Everyone says they do, but no one actually knows.”

Freshmen have plenty of time to think about graduation, but they will eventually be in the same position as the class of 2022, and the time will come to say goodbye. 

“​​I really encourage freshmen to push themselves to be on the board of any organization that they get involved in,” Simon said. “It definitely helps you prioritize your time, so you don't succumb to your surrounding environment. Be yourself, it's okay to be different, you will go far and be proud of yourself.”


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