The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Looking back with SF State 2020 graduates

SF State 2020 Alumni reflect back on their post-grad life in a global pandemic
Lucky Whitburn-Thomas
A statue of former Gator football coaches Vic Rowen (left) and Joe Verducci (right) in front of the Don Nasser Family Plaza at SF State on March 15. (Lucky Whitburn-Thomas / Golden Gate Xpress)

One year ago, college students were graduating into one of the toughest job markets since 2010. Since then, they’ve struggled to make ends meet in the middle of a global pandemic.

Kathryn Cariaso, who received her bachelor’s degree in marketing after graduating at SF State in 2020,  said that after graduation she wanted to find a job right away. Her internship at Day One Baby, a healthcare startup company, was coming to an end and it was difficult to find a new job amidst a pandemic. Luckily, she was able to get recruited by a San Francisco tech company, Unity

“It was a rough experience,” Cariaso said.

Cariaso said her job hunting process consisted of her mass applying to different people on LinkedIn and asking them, “how did you get your job” or asking for quick informational interviews. 

After COVID-19 hit the United States, the unemployment rate started to rise, companies stopped hiring outsiders and the World Bank states that the global economy was set to go into the worst recession since World War II. 

“I went through a lot of interview cycles with other companies at the same time and that one [Unity]  ended up being like the best fit for me,” Cariaso said.

Back in March 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the United States lost 701, 000 jobs and by April almost 17 million people filed for unemployment. In December 2020, about 7.2 percent of recent college graduates were unemployed in the U.S.

“I really started trying to apply everywhere, and just had no luck,” said William Dunton, SF State 2020 Alumni. “I was kind of applying to everything — like Target. Not even really focusing on my field as much, because it was so hard to get a job anywhere.”

William Dunton graduated with a bachelor’s Broadcast and Electronic Communication Art degree in 2020 and was unemployed until January 2021. He is now a video producer and social media specialist at a local handyman company in the East Bay. 

Hannah Khorassani, SFSU graduate student of Speech-Language Pathology, prepares for her virtual class on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. Khorassani continues to live in Daly City, despite a completely virtual learning experience, at times traveling to visit family in southern California when possible. (Lucky Whitburn-Thomas / Golden Gate Xpress) (Lucky Whitburn-Thomas)

Not all college students decided to look for jobs right away. Some, like Hannah Khorassani, decided to pursue their Master’s degree after graduating in 2020. After losing her job at the preschool center on campus, Khorassani took up babysitting gigs. Khorassani stated that she did not want to stress about finding a job if she was going to be committed to grad school.

“I’ve heard a lot of horror stories where there are multiple interviews and it’s just a harder process because there are so many available applicants,” Khorassani said. “For me, personally, I didn’t stress too much on it just because I had schooling to lean back on in the fall.

However, as of March 2021, the job market is looking brighter for 2021 college graduates. Nonfarm payrolls, numbers of workers excluding farm work, increased by 916,000 and the unemployment rate fell to 6% after a record high 14.7% in April 2020. 

Topanga Cooper, who received her Bachelor’s in psychology after graduating in spring 2020, said that she was crushed knowing that she wouldn’t be able to walk across the stage at graduation like her other family members.

“It’s little things like that that I really want to do, like take pictures with my cap and gown, with my girls after we graduate, throwing up our hats or even decorating our hats,” Cooper said. “ Just those little moments I didn’t get and I will never get.”

Cooper is now using her psychology degree to work as a youth support counselor in San Francisco. She also wanted the class of 2021 to know that it’s okay to slow down and to really find a job that you enjoy.

“Who knows what it will be like next year? COVID might come back, or we might be regular, like how we were. So really take advantage of your youth; take advantage of the fact that you have time.”

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Looking back with SF State 2020 graduates